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htt p ://irc.nrc-cnrc. gc.ca Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

N R C C - 4 9 6 7 7

Richardson, J.K.; Quirt, J.D.; Hlady, R.

June 2007

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June 2007 Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on

June 2007

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission J.K. Richardson,

J.K. Richardson, J.D. Quirt, R. Hlady

Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission J.K. Richardson,
Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission J.K. Richardson,

BEST PRACTICE GUIDE ON FIRE STOPS AND FIRE BLOCKS AND THEIR IMPACT ON SOUND TRANSMISSION

Prepared For

Special Interest Group on Suitable Acoustic and Fire Stop Technologies

Prepared by

J. Kenneth Richardson Ken Richardson Fire Technologies Inc.

J. David Quirt Institute for Research in Construction National Research Council of Canada

Rob Hlady Affinity Fire Stop Consultants Inc.

June 2007

DISCLAIMER

The analysis, interpretations, and recommendations in this Guide are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Special Interest Group on Suitable Acoustic and Fire Stop Technologies or those organizations that assisted in the preparation, review and publication of the document.

Care has been taken to review the literature summarized in this Guide. Neither the authors nor the Special Interest Group warrant or assume any liability for the accuracy or completeness of the text or drawings, or their fitness for any particular purpose. It is the responsibility of the user to apply professional knowledge in the use of the information contained in the drawings and text, to consult original sources, or when appropriate, to consult a qualified design professional.

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Preface - 1

BEST PRACTICE GUIDE ON FIRE STOPS AND FIRE BLOCKS AND THEIR IMPACT ON SOUND TRANSMISSION

(A Publication of the Special Interest Group on Suitable Acoustic and Fire Stop Technologies)

PREFACE

The production of the Best Practice Guide was organised by the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) and Ken Richardson Fire Technologies Inc. (KRFT). Unless otherwise indicated, all drawings have been provided by Affinity Fire Stop Consultants Inc.

This Best Practice Guide is based extensively on a document from The City of Calgary entitled “Fire Stopping Service Penetrations in Buildings”, and the authors extend their appreciation to the City for making the document available and for assistance in development of this Guide.

Critical review of the content of the Best Practice Guide was the primary focus of the Special Interest Group on Suitable Acoustic and Fire Stop Technologies (SIG- SAFT). This Special Interest Group (SIG) was made up of stakeholders, who provided financial and in-kind support for the project, as well as regulators and standards developers. The SIG provided review and comment on draft documents to NRCC and KRFT throughout the production process. A formal ballot of SIG members confirmed acceptance of the final content.

The organizations and individuals comprising SIG-SAFT are:

Organizations

Individual

3M Canada

Sylvain Masse Marcelo Mellicovsky

A/D Fire Protection Systems

Don Falconer

Affinity Fire Stop Consultants Inc.

Rob Hlady

Bibby Ste. Croix

William Monaghan

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Barry Craig

Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association

Stephen Knapp

Arnold Knapp

Canadian Wood Council

Ineke Van Zeeland

City of Kitchener

Scott Dougall

Cobri Technologies Inc.

Walter Milani

Larry Whitty

Gypsum Association

Robert Wessel

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Preface - 2

Organizations

Individual

Hilti Canada Corporation

Douglas King

International Firestop Council

Anthony Crimi

IPEX Inc.

Allan Baker

Ken Richardson Fire Technologies Inc.

Ken Richardson

NRCC – Institute for Research in Construction

David Quirt

North American Insulation Manufacturers Association

Keith Wilson

John Scott

NUCO Inc.

Keith Brebner

Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing

John Gryffyn Cengiz Kahramanoglu

The City of Calgary

Bernardine van der Meer

Tremco Inc.

Rick Reuss

Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada

Emmanuel Sopeju

The draft document was also circulated to external reviewers to obtain input from potential users who were not involved in the development of the Guide. The following individuals reviewed the draft and provided comment to the SIG and the authors.

Organization

Individual

NRCC – IRC – Canadian Codes Centre

Igor Oleszkiewicz

Senez, Reed, Calder Fire Engineering Inc.

Peter Senez

Gibbs Gage Architects

Ed Sych

Thermo Fire Systems Inc

Mike McClure

Participation of organizations and individuals from both Canada and the U.S.A. helped to ensure that the input encompassed the codes, standards and regulatory environments in both countries.

This Best Practice Guide primarily addresses fire stops and fire blocks installed in Canada, which must meet Canadian codes and standards. The requirements for fire stops and fire blocks in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) are similar, in concept, to those contained in the International Building Code (IBC) and NFPA 5000 in the U.S.A. Specific significant differences between Canadian and American codes are identified. The current requirements for CAN/ULC-S115 also contain a number of differences from the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) documents in the U.S.A; these are also identified in the Guide.

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

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Preface - 3

The Guide also identifies differences from the NBCC that have been approved in some provincial building codes. These are included to ensure that users of the Guide are aware of the minor provincial variations that may impact on fire stops and fire blocks.

The Guide has been developed to assist in the design, installation and inspection of suitable fire stop and fire block systems. It is intended to identify technical solutions relating to the fire resistance and sound transmission aspects of fire stops and fire blocks by those who manufacture, design, specify, install and inspect these systems.

The Best Practice Guide is not intended for use as a code document. Some of the solutions described in the Guide may not conform specifically to current Canadian codes. The authority having jurisdiction must be consulted on the acceptance of such solutions. The Guide, however, may be used as a background reference by those in the building regulatory community as a means of identifying suitable fire and acoustic solutions for fire stops and fire blocks. In the future, others may re-work the Best Practice Guide, or portions of it, into a form that may be suitable for use with codes and standards. That is not the intent of this current document, however. While the Guide makes extensive reference to the NBCC as being the source of the requirements for fire stops and fire blocks in Canada, there are occasions in the Guide where Best Practice may dictate the need for features beyond the NBCC requirements. The authors have tried to identify those situations in Chapters 7 through 13.

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Contents - 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DISCLAIMER

PREFACE

1.0

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

1.2 Objective

1.3 Basic Terminology

1.4 Historical Requirements for Fire Stops and Fire Blocks

1.5 The Effects of Fire Stops and Fire Blocks on Acoustic Separation of Spaces

Chapter 1 References

2.0

BASICS OF FIRE COMPARTMENTATION AND SOUND TRANSMISSION

2.1 Fire Compartmentation History

2.2 Elements of Fire Compartmentation

2.3 Protection of Openings In and Between Fire Separations

2.4 Concealed Spaces in Construction

2.5 Effect of Fire Stops and Fire Blocks on Acoustical Separation

2.6 Rating Sound Transmission Through Fire Stops

2.7 Cases where STC Ratings are not Required for Fire Stops

2.8 Other Noise Control Objectives

Chapter 2 References

3.0

TYPES OF FIRE STOPS AND FIRE STOP MATERIALS

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Fire Stop Materials

3.3 Through-Penetration Fire Stops

3.4 Membrane-Penetration Fire Stops

3.5 Construction Joint Fire Stops

3.6 Building Perimeter Fire Stops

3.7 Caulks and Sealants

3.8 Putties

3.9 Mortars and Grouts

3.10 Foams

3.11 Coatings and Sprays

3.12 Wraps

3.13 Blocks, Pillows and Bags

3.14 Composite Sheets and Boards

3.15 Fire Stop Devices

3.16 Generic Materials

Chapter 3 References

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Contents - 2

4.0

TYPES OF FIRE BLOCKS AND FIRE BLOCK MATERIALS

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Concealed Space Division

4.3 Fire Block Materials

Chapter 4 References

5.0

CODE REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRE STOP INSTALLATIONS AND SOUND ISOLATION

5.1 Introduction

5.2 NBCC Requirements for Continuity of Fire Separations

5.3 NBCC Requirements for Protection of Service Penetrations

5.4 NBCC Requirements for Sound Control

5.5 Rating of Fire Stops for Service Penetrations

5.6 Requirements of CAN/ULC-S115

5.7 U.S. Model Code Requirements for Fire Stops (including Sound Control)

Chapter 5 References

6.0

CODE REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRE BLOCK INSTALLATIONS AND SOUND ISOLATION

6.1 Introduction

6.2 NBCC Requirements for Fire Blocks in Concealed Spaces

6.3 Rating of Fire Blocks

6.4 U.S. Model Code Requirements for Fire Blocks and Draft Stops

6.5 Requirements for Sound Control

Chapter 6 References

7.0

BASIC ISSUES RELATED TO BEST PRACTICE FOR FIRE STOPS AND FIRE BLOCKS

7.1 Engineering Judgements

7.2 Fire Separations and Fire “Walls” above Parking Garages – F and FT Ratings

7.3 Abandoned Openings Requiring Protection

7.4 Multiple Penetrating Items

7.5 Minimum Stud (Framed) Wall Plate or Track Size for Penetrating Items

7.6 Use of Drywall Compound as a Fire Stop

7.7 The Design and Installation Process for Fire Stops and Fire Blocks

7.8 Fire Stop Installation Personnel Qualifications

7.9 Inspection of Fire Stops

Chapter 7 References

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Contents - 3

8.0

BEST PRACTICE FOR FIRE STOPS FOR PIPE PENETRATIONS

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Pipe Penetrations through Monolithic Concrete Floor Assemblies

8.3 Floor Penetrations for Toilets above Monolithic Concrete Floor Assemblies

8.4 Monolithic Concrete Floor Penetrations for Tubs and Showers

8.5 Pipe Penetrations through Framed Floor Assemblies

8.6 Pipe Penetrations through Framed Floor Assemblies for Toilets

8.7 Pipe Penetrations through Framed Floor Assemblies for Tubs and Showers

8.8 Pipe Penetrations through Monolithic Concrete or Masonry Walls

8.9 Pipe Penetrations through Stud Walls

8.10 Pipe Penetrations through Framed Roof Spaces

8.11 Multiple Pipe Penetrations

8.12 Transitions between Combustible and Noncombustible Pipe

Chapter 8 References

9.0

BEST PRACTICE FOR FIRE STOPS FOR ELECTRICAL SERVICE PENETRATIONS

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Electrical Service Penetrations through Monolithic Concrete Floor Assemblies

9.3 Electrical Service Penetrations through Framed Floor Assemblies

9.4 Electrical Service Penetrations through Monolithic Concrete or Masonry Walls

9.5 Electrical Service Penetrations through Stud Wall Assemblies

9.6 Cable Tray Penetrations

Chapter 9 References

10.0

BEST PRACTICE FOR FIRE STOPS FOR MECHANICAL SERVICE PENETRATIONS

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Mechanical Service Penetrations through Monolithic Concrete Floor Assemblies

10.3 Mechanical Service Penetrations through Framed Floor Assemblies

10.4 Mechanical Service Penetrations through Monolithic Concrete or Masonry Walls

10.5 Mechanical Service Penetrations through Framed Stud Wall Assemblies

10.6 Duct Penetrations and Vertical Shafts

Chapter 10 References

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

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Contents - 4

11.0

BEST PRACTICE FOR FIRE STOPS FOR CONSTRUCTION JOINTS

11.1 Introduction

11.2 Fire Stops for Bottom of Wall Joints

11.3 Fire Stops for Top of Wall Joints

11.4 Fire Stops between Adjacent Floors

11.5 Fire Stops between Adjacent Walls

11.6 Floor-to-Wall Fire Stops

Chapter 11 References

12.0

BEST PRACTICE FOR BUILDING PERIMETER FIRE STOPS

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Best Practice for Building Perimeter Fire Stops with Fire-Rated Exterior Walls

12.3 Best Practice for Building Perimeter Fire Stops with Non-Fire-Rated Exterior Walls

Chapter 12 References

13.0

BEST PRACTICE FOR FIRE BLOCKS

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Fire Blocks in Wall Assemblies

13.3 Fire Blocks in Horizontal Concealed Spaces

13.4 Fire Blocks Between Horizontal and Vertical Concealed Spaces

13.5 Fire Blocks Between Nailing Elements

Chapter 13 References

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

List of Figures - 1

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE 2.A

Example of some typical paths for sound transmission

FIGURE 3.A

Example of a through-penetration fire stop

FIGURE 3.B

Example of membrane penetration fire stop

FIGURE 3.C

Example of shaft wall penetration fire stop

FIGURE 3.D

Example of construction joint fire stop

FIGURE 3.E

Example of building perimeter fire stop

FIGURE 3.F

Examples of a fire stop sealant with insulation

FIGURE 3.G

Example of fire stop sealant without insulation

FIGURE 3.H

Example of a self-levelling fire stop sealant

FIGURE 3.I

Example of a mouldable putty fire stop

FIGURE 3.J

Example of a putty pad

FIGURE 3.K

Example of a fire stop mortar

FIGURE 3.L

Example of a fire stop foam

FIGURE 3.M

Example of a fire stop spray

FIGURE 3.N

Example of a fire stop wrap

FIGURE 3.0

Example of fire stop pillows, blocks or bags

FIGURE 3.P

Example of a composite sheet fire stop

FIGURE 3.Q

Example of a fire stop collar

FIGURE 3.R

Example of a fire stop collar

FIGURE 3.S

Example of fire stop plug

FIGURE 3.T

Example of electrical box insert

FIGURE 3.U

Example of a cast-in-place device

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

List of Figures - 2

FIGURE 4.A

Fire block dividing roof concealed space

FIGURE 4.B

Example of fire block separating two concealed spaces

FIGURE 5.A

Protection of a penetration by a structural member

FIGURE 5.B

Certification Marks used in Canada

FIGURE 6.A

Fire block locations and materials

FIGURE 6.B

Fire block locations and materials

FIGURE 7.A

Example of a blank opening fire stop system

FIGURE 7.B

Minimum spacing for multiple pipes when fire stops do not have spacing requirements specified in the listing

FIGURE 7.C

Minimum spacing for electrical cables when fire stops do not have spacing requirements specified in the listing

FIGURE 7.D

Minimum spacing for openings for penetrations through stud walls

FIGURE 8.A

Apartment building over a parking garage showing typical penetrations of combustible and noncombustible piping through rated fire separations

FIGURE 8.B.1

Insulated noncombustible pipe penetration through fire-rated floor system

FIGURE 8.B.2

Insulated combustible pipe penetration through a fire-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 8.C

Combustible pipe penetration through a monolithic concrete slab – F or FT rating

FIGURE 8.D

Non-combustible pipe penetration through a monolithic concrete slab – F or FT rating

FIGURE 8.E

Penetration for toilet above a monolithic concrete slab – FT rating

FIGURE 8.F

Penetration for toilet above a monolithic concrete slab – F rating

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

List of Figures - 3

FIGURE 8.G

Penetration for toilet on wood sleeper floor system installed above a monolithic concrete slab – F or FT rating

FIGURE 8.H

Pipe penetration for a tub or shower above a monolithic concrete slab – F or FT rating

FIGURE 8.I.1

Pipe penetration through a framed floor assembly

FIGURE 8.I.2

Penetration of combustible sprinkler piping through a framed floor assembly

FIGURE 8.J.1

Penetration of sprinkler piping through ceiling membrane of a fire- rated assembly

FIGURE 8.J.2

Penetration of sprinkler piping through ceiling membrane of a fire- rated assembly with a fire stop

FIGURE 8.K

Penetration of DWV pipe for a toilet through a framed floor assembly

FIGURE 8.L

Penetration of DWV pipe for tubs or showers through a framed floor assembly

FIGURE 8.M.1

Penetration of pipe through monolithic concrete wall assembly

FIGURE 8.M.2

Penetration of pipe through masonry wall assembly not using a sleeve

FIGURE 8.M.3

Penetration of pipe through masonry wall assembly using a sleeve

FIGURE 8.N

Penetration of water supply pipe through membrane of wall assembly

FIGURE 8.O.1

Penetration of a combustible pipe through a fire-rated wall assembly

FIGURE 8.O.2

Penetration of a noncombustible pipe through a fire-rated wall assembly

FIGURE 8.P.1

Penetration of a pipe through a wall membrane that is not fire-rated

FIGURE 8.P.2

Penetration of a pipe through a fire-rated wall assembly

FIGURE 8.Q

Penetration of a drain pipe through a furred-out wall assembly

FIGURE 8.R

Penetration of pipe through fire-rated ceiling membrane

FIGURE 8.S

Multiple pipe penetrations through a fire-rated stud wall

FIGURE 8.T

Pipe transitions

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

List of Figures - 4

FIGURE 8.U

Combustible DWV pipe penetrating a vertical fire separation

FIGURE 8.V

Pipe transition from combustible pipe in the parking garage below the slab to noncombustible pipe above the slab

FIGURE 9.A

Typical apartment building showing electrical service penetrations

FIGURE 9.B

Example of stacked electrical rooms

FIGURE 9.C

Cable penetrations of a monolithic concrete floor assembly

FIGURE 9.D

Conduit penetration of a monolithic concrete floor assembly

FIGURE 9.E

Cables penetrating monolithic concrete floor above an electrical service room to obtain FT rating in lieu of FT-rated fire stop systems

FIGURE 9.F

Fire stops for cables and conduit penetrating a steel framed floor assembly

FIGURE 9.G.1

Fire stops for outlet boxes in fire-rated framed ceiling assemblies

FIGURE 9.G.2

Fire stops for outlet boxes in fire-rated steel-framed ceiling assemblies

FIGURE 9.H

Fire stops for outlet box in a dropped ceiling below a fire-rated framed floor/ceiling assembly

FIGURE 9.I

Electrical service penetrations through monolithic concrete or masonry wall

FIGURE 9.J

Examples of combustible and noncombustible conduit installations for electrical service penetrations through a stud wall

FIGURE 9.K

Examples of electrical cable without conduit, at penetrations through a stud wall assembly

FIGURE 9.L

Example of electrical panel opening in framed furred-out wall assembly

FIGURE 9.M

Examples of electrical boxes located at least 1 stud space apart in stud wall assemblies

FIGURE 9.N

Example of electrical outlet boxes less than one stud space apart in a double wall assembly

FIGURE 9.O

Example of fire stop system for cable tray penetration through stud wall assembly

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

List of Figures - 5

FIGURE 10.A

Typical apartment building showing mechanical service penetrations of fire-rated assemblies

FIGURE 10.B

Example of a fire damper in a fire-rated stud wall assembly

FIGURE 10.C

Example of fire stops at a duct penetration that does not require a fire damper

FIGURE 10.D

Example of ducts penetrating a monolithic concrete floor assembly

FIGURE 10.E

Example of duct penetrations of a monolithic concrete floor assembly with and without fire dampers

FIGURE 10.F

Example of chimney penetration in basement with shaft enclosure

FIGURE 10.G

Example of chimney penetration in basement with no shaft enclosure below floor

FIGURE 10.H

Examples of duct penetrations of a framed floor assembly – with and without fire dampers

FIGURE 10.I

Example of duct running through a horizontal space below a framed fire-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 10.J.1

Example 1 of duct running perpendicular to framing members within a fire-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 10.J.2

Example 2 of duct running perpendicular to framing members within a fire-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 10.K.1

Example 1 of duct running parallel to framing members within a fire-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 10.K.2

Example 2 of duct running parallel to framing members within a fire-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 10.L

Example of duct penetration of a monolithic concrete or masonry wall with and without fire dampers

FIGURE 10.M.1

Example of duct located in a fire-rated stud wall assembly

FIGURE 10.M.2

Example of duct located in a non fire-rated stud wall assembly

FIGURE 10.N

Example of duct located in a furred-out stud wall assembly

FIGURE 10.O

Examples of duct penetrations of a fire-rated stud wall assembly with and without fire dampers

FIGURE 10.P

Example of ducts penetrating fire-rated vertical shaft wall assemblies

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June 2007

List of Figures - 6

FIGURE 10.Q

Example of ducts penetrating fire-rated vertical shaft with a constantly-running fan at the top

FIGURE 10.R

Examples of ducts penetrating a fire-rated vertical shaft with ducts continuous to the outside

FIGURE 11.A

Types of construction joints

FIGURE 11.B

Example of fire stop at bottom of wall

FIGURE 11.C

Example of fire stop at top of wall

FIGURE 11.D

Examples of fire stops at top of wall, for the joint between a masonry wall and the underside of a fluted steel deck

FIGURE 11.E

Track and slip fire stops at top of wall

FIGURE 11.F

Fire stop at both joist penetration of the wall and top of wall linear joint

FIGURE 11.G

Example of floor-to-floor fire stop

FIGURE 11.H

Examples of wall-to-wall fire stops

FIGURE 11.I

Example of fire stop between floor and wall

FIGURE 12.A

Building perimeter fire stop at a fire-rated concrete or masonry exterior wall

FIGURE 12.B

Building perimeter fire stop at a fire-rated exterior stud wall

FIGURE 12.C

Building perimeter fire stop with stiffback angle

FIGURE 12.D

Proper installation of mineral fibre insulation

FIGURE 12.E

Building perimeter fire stop at curtain wall with mechanical attachment

FIGURE 13.A

Fire blocks for platform framed walls

FIGURE 13.B

Fire blocks for balloon framed walls

FIGURE 13.C

Fire blocks in large and high walls

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

List of Figures - 7

FIGURE 13.D.1

Floor/wall cavity where fire block is not required because air gap is

25

mm or less wide

FIGURE 13.D.2

Floor/wall cavity less than or equal to 25 mm wide with fire block

FIGURE 13.D.3

Floor/wall cavity less than or equal to 25 mm wide, with non-fire- rated floor

FIGURE 13.E.1

Examples of fire blocks at ceiling and floor levels with floor/wall cavity greater than 25 mm wide

FIGURE 13.E.2

Examples of fire blocks at ceiling and floor levels with air gap greater than 25 mm wide

FIGURE 13.F

Example of fire block at floor level with an air gap greater than

25

mm wide on non-rated floor assembly

FIGURE 13.G

Fire blocks in crawl spaces

FIGURE 13.H

Fire blocks in roof spaces

FIGURE 13.I

Fire blocks in horizontal concealed spaces

FIGURE 13.J

Fire block for coved ceiling space

FIGURE 13.K

Fire block at ceiling soffit/bulkhead

FIGURE 13.L

Fire blocks for stair stringers

FIGURE 13.M

Fire block continuity with stair stringers

FIGURE 13.N

Fire blocks between ceiling nailing elements in buildings required to be of noncombustible construction

FIGURE 13.0

Fire blocks with raised platform in buildings required to be of noncombustible construction

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

1-1

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

While the past decade has produced valuable research information and technical solutions on suitable fire and acoustic components for fire-resistant wall and floor assemblies tested in a laboratory, the design and construction process also demands proven approaches to ensure satisfactory performance of installed fire-rated assemblies in buildings. This means addressing potential openings in or adjacent to these floors and walls. As well, recent research conducted at the National Research Council of Canada has shown that construction solutions that provide adequate fire resistance may not resolve (or may worsen) sound transmission shortcomings. Finding suitable fire and acoustic solutions and balancing fire resistance and sound transmission issues are growing problems for all in the construction industry as both are mandated by Codes for certain building occupancies.

For designers, plan reviewers, installers and inspectors, the lack of recognized solutions to provide both appropriate sound and fire control with fire stops and fire blocks is a frequently-encountered problem. As a result of the absence of reliable authoritative documents, accepted practice for fire stop and fire block solutions in one jurisdiction may be unacceptable in neighbouring ones. Those who design and install fire stop systems do not wish to face the problem of having met the fire requirements but not meet the requirements for sound isolation, especially when this is discovered at the commissioning stage. The manufacturers of fire stop and fire block systems, who provide technical information to designers, installers and regulators, also wish to assure themselves that they have addressed both the fire and sound transmission aspects of their systems to avoid problems that may only be identified at the commissioning stage or during the occupancy of the building.

There is currently no reliable reference document that addresses both fire and sound transmission issues related to fire stops and fire blocks. As well, there is currently no document that provides the design, regulatory, manufacturing and installation communities with reliable information that can be used with assurance across the many jurisdictions in the country. Much of the technical knowledge needed to produce such a document is presently available in a variety of references. This "Best Practice Guide" aspires to serve as a first reliable reference document.

Best Practice - For the purposes of this Guide, "best practice" is defined as:

Best Practice – Based on current knowledge, recommendations in this Guide representing the best judgement of individuals from all aspects of the industry involved in the preparation of the Guide.

It should be noted that there may be acceptable solutions other than those presented in this Guide and that new technology may provide improved solutions in the future. The concept of "best practice" in this Guide relates, therefore, to the state of the art at a particular point in time.

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Introduction

1-2

City of Calgary Experience – In the late 1990s, the City of Calgary was experiencing a building boom which included a large increase in the construction of multi-family housing units. During the same period, the City entered into a partnership agreement with the Calgary Region Home Builders' Association to, among other goals, raise standards and to achieve a higher level of consistency in construction of multi- family housing. The City's Building Regulations Division had identified multi-family buildings as their greatest area of concern and had noted a pattern of deficiencies in fire separations and fire stops. The City and its partners from the building industry, architects, engineers, contractors and fire stop manufacturers agreed that, to reduce deficiencies in the field and obtain a higher standard of consistency, a guideline on fire stops needed to be prepared.

The City of Calgary also noted that numerous new fire stop products were being introduced to the Canadian market and installed in buildings in Calgary. The City had concerns about the selection of appropriate products and their suitable installation in buildings, in particular, multi-unit residential units. Following a two-year development and review process, the guideline "Fire Stopping Service Penetrations in Buildings" [1-1] became a reality in 2003. Subsequently, the City expressed an interest in extending the document to address fire blocks and other fire stops not previously addressed, as well as sound transmission issues, which are often inseparable from fire separation issues in residential buildings. The City’s document and request became the catalyst for the development of this Best Practice Guide.

1.2 Objective

With the numerous reference sources available, this Best Practice Guide will build on existing knowledge and then add value through the integration of the data on fire and sound transmission in such a manner that the user has a useful, authoritative document. With these thoughts in mind, the Objective of the document is:

"To describe, using a synthesis of available data, the technical solutions necessary to obtain, with fire stop systems and fire blocks, appropriate fire and sound control in buildings."

1.3 Basic Terminology

A number of words and phrases are currently used to describe what is generically known as "fire stopping". In common usage, the terms "fire stop", "fire block" and "draft stop" are often used interchangeably; others attribute specific meanings to each term. For example, in the 2005 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) [1-2], while there is no definition of the term "fire stop", the terms "fire stop" or "fire stop system" are used to encompass all such materials and systems, including those commonly called "fire blocks" or "draft stops" in other documents. There are, however, differences, often not subtle, that call for unique terminology for each different technology. For this reason, in this Best Practice Guide, specific terminology will be

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Introduction

1-3

adopted in an attempt to enable the user to better understand what is being discussed, to reduce confusion and to achieve consistency with other North American documents.

Fire Stop – a material, component or system, and its means of support, used to fill gaps between fire separations, between fire separations and other construction assemblies, or used around items which wholly or partially penetrate fire separations, to restrict the spread of fire and often smoke thus maintaining the integrity of a fire separation.

Fire Block – a material, component or system installed in a concealed space in a building to restrict the spread of fire and often smoke in that concealed space, or from that concealed space to an adjacent space.

In this Guide, fire block is intended to encompass the term “draft stop” which is sometimes used in American codes when speaking of some fire blocks in larger concealed spaces. Draft stops are intended to stop air movement as well as fire spread. In the 2005 NBCC, fire blocks, as defined in this Guide, are called "fire stops".

The basis for the "fire stop" and "fire block" terminology can be found in the Fire Protection Handbook [1-3], NFPA 5000 – Building Construction and Safety Code [1-4] and the International Building Code [1-5]. The Fire Protection Handbook is one of the most widely-used reference documents in the fire protection profession; its use of the above terminology (fire stop and fire block) in its 19 th edition indicates a wide acceptance internationally of this terminology.

Throughout this Guide, reference is made to "listed fire stop systems". These are systems which have been tested to CAN/ULC-S115 – Standard Method of Fire Tests of Firestop Systems [1-6] by a recognized testing agency and proof of that testing and subsequent follow-up service is provided by an independent certification agency. The definition for a "listed fire stop system" is adapted from CAN/ULC-S115 as follows: In this Guide, "listed fire stop systems" will be used to indicate fire stops which conform to

CAN/ULC-S115.

Listed Fire Stop System – a specific construction consisting of materials, any penetrating items and their means of support, that has met the requirements for an F, FT, FH and/or FTH rating when tested in a fire- resistance rated assembly in accordance with CAN/ULC-S115 – Standard Method of Fire Tests of Firestop Systems.

It should be noted that under the NBCC [1-2], Part 3 requires that fire stops comply with CAN/ULC-S115, which may be accomplished by using a listed fire stop system, or be cast in place. Part 9 permits generic materials to be used for fire stops, however, listed fire stop systems may also be used.

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1.4

Historical Requirements for Fire Stops and Fire Blocks

1.4.1

Introduction

The need for fire stops to ensure the continued integrity of fire compartments, and the need for fire blocks to restrict the size of concealed spaces has been known in the fire protection profession since fire compartmentation began to be used as a means of fire control. Historically, fire losses were much greater when fire stops and fire blocks were not installed or were installed with deficiencies. Fire departments frequently reported that fire suppression operations were made more difficult by the spread of fire to an adjacent compartment or to a concealed space as a result of no or poorly-installed fire stops and fire blocks. High profile fires, such as at the Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, the Inn on the Park and the MGM Grand Hotel, raised the awareness of all fire safety professionals to the need for appropriate fire stops and fire blocks and to the materials used for their construction. It is these and other events, related to sound isolation of residential units, that illustrated the need for this Guide.

1.4.2 Canadian Code Context

In Canadian Codes, until the latter half of the 20 th century, fire stops and fire blocks generally consisted of generic materials, such as batt insulation, solid wood, gypsum board and even foamed plastic. The exact time duration for which these generic materials were expected to restrict fire spread and their efficacy at doing so was not quantified. Fire stops were generally mandated through the use of phrases such as "fire stopped with noncombustible material …" as shown below from Article 3.2.2.5 of NBCC 1965] [1-7].

"3.2.2.5.(1) Where heavy timber construction is permitted as an alternate to 3/4 hr. fire separation, such heavy timber shall be constructed as a smoke-proof barrier with doors, shafts, and firestopping as necessary to prevent the passage of smoke and flame from one side of the separation to the other. Every duct passing through such construction shall have dampers fitted with temperature rise releases and every duct, pipe or wire which pierces the fire separation shall be tightly fitted or fire stopped with noncombustible material unless contained within a shaft." [Ref: 3.2.2.5.(1) of NBCC 1965]

In the NBCC 1965, fire blocks (called "fire stops") in "wood construction" were required at most locations indicated in the current NBCC [Ref: 3.2.2.9 of NBCC 1965]. These fire blocks were not permitted to be covered or concealed " … until inspected and approved by the authority having jurisdiction".

In the 1970 edition of the NBCC [1-8], a separate subsection [Ref: 3.1.9 of NBCC 1970] was added to address most fire stop needs. It gathered together much of the information on fire stops spread throughout Part 3 in the 1965 Code. A "fire stop" was defined in the NBCC 1970 as:

"Fire stop – means a draft-tight barrier within or between construction assemblies that acts to retard the passage of smoke and flames" [Ref: 2.1.1 of NBCC 1970].

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This 1970 NBCC definition again notes the need to retard the passage of both flames and smoke, however, no quantification of specific performance in that regard is mentioned. There were also requirements in the NBCC 1970 to install fire stops around such penetrations as noncombustible pipes and ducts [Ref: 3.1.7.6 of NBCC 1970 as example].

"3.1.7.6.(1) Openings for noncombustible pipes are permitted in fire separations provided such pipes

(a)

are enclosed in shafts conforming to Section 3.5, or

(b)

are tightly fitted or fire stopped to prevent the passage of smoke and flame.

(2) Openings for noncombustible ducts are permitted through fire separations provided such ducts

(a)

are enclosed in shafts conforming to Section 3.5, or

(b)

conform to Subsection 3.5.1. for unenclosed ducts and they are tightly fitted or fire stopped to prevent the passage of smoke and flame." [Ref:

3.1.7.6. of NBCC 1970].

In the 1970 edition, some performance criteria for fire stops and fire blocks can be surmised from the prescriptive terms used to describe their construction as shown below. For example, it is assumed that batt insulation used for fire stops in this edition of the Code would have had to meet the "noncombustible material having a melting point above 1200°F (649°C)" to be acceptable as a fire stop.

"3.1.9.1.(7) Every fire stop shall

(a)

be constructed of:

 

(i)

asbestos cement board, gypsum board or other noncombustible material having a melting point above 1200°F (649°C) , such as sheet steel,

(ii)

solid lumber not less than 2 in (51 mm) nominal thickness, or

(iii)

½-in.-thick (13 mm) plywood with joints backed with like material or two thicknesses of lumber not less than 1 in. (25 mm) nominal in thickness with joints staggered, where the width or height of the opening or space to be fire stopped is such that more than one piece of 2-in.-thick (51 mm) lumber is necessary." [Ref: 3.1.9.1(7) of NBCC 1970].

It can be easily seen that the actual performance, under fire exposure, of these diverse fire stop and fire block materials would vary considerably from the perspective of temperature rise on the unexposed surface and penetration by smoke and flames. The 1970 NBCC did, however, provide greater clarification and quantification of fire stop and fire block performance through this requirement.

Later editions of the NBCC better defined the performance expectations of fire stops. In the 1985 NBCC [1-9], fire stops around service penetrations were required to:

"remain in place and prevent the passage of flame when subjected to the standard fire exposure … for a period of time equal to the fire protection rating for the grade of fire separation" [Ref: 3.1.7.1.(2) of NBCC 1985]. In other words, a fire stop had to match the performance standard of a fire door or a fire damper in terms of resisting fire spread. In the 1985 NBCC, fire blocks were required to: "remain in place and prevent the passage of flames for a period of 15 min when subjected to the standard fire exposure"

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[Ref: 3.1.9.4.(1) of NBCC 1985]. Generic materials such as gypsum board, sheet steel and plywood were still permitted in that edition of the NBCC without explicit reference to their expected fire performance. While the first edition of ULC-S115 was available in 1985, after the completion of the work on the 1985 NBCC, the policy of the NBCC of not including standards as references until they are published meant that ULC-S115 was not referenced in the NBCC until the 1990 edition.

It was only in the 1990 edition [1-10] of the NBCC that the present requirements for fire stops appeared. In that edition, fire stops around service penetrations were required to meet CAN/ULC-S115 "Standard Method of Fire Tests for Firestop Systems" [1-6], the reference standard still in use today. Fire blocks, on the other hand, had to resist the standard fire exposure for 15 min, as was required in the previous edition, or they had to consist of specified generic materials. It is clear that, from 1990 onwards, there was an intentional distinction between the fire performance expectations of fire stops and fire blocks, while still using the term "fire stop" for both.

While the code in Canada was undergoing these changes, events in the U.S.A. were leading to better-defined fire stops and fire blocks in both Canada and the U.S.A. Two major fires, in particular, played material roles: the Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant fire in 1975 and the MGM Grand Hotel fire in 1981. The former indicated a weakness in the selection and testing of fire stop materials for cable penetrations and the latter a weakness in the fire and smoke performance of building construction joints, in particular, seismic joints. As well, a study by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards provided evidence of the need for fire stops and fire blocks to prevent unrestricted fire spread in concealed spaces in multi-family residences.

1.4.3 Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant Fire

The fire at the Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant [1-11, 1-12, 1-13] in 1975 originated with an electrician using a candle to check the airtightness of "seals" in major fire separations between a Control Room and a Cable Spreading Room. The wall was approximately 0.7 m thick and was penetrated by openings for cables. The space between the cables and the wall opening had been filled with resilient polyurethane foam. The foam was going to be covered eventually with a protective material. As the result of a pressure difference between the two rooms, the flame from the candle was drawn into the opening, igniting the polyurethane foam. The resulting fire caused property damage of approximately $10M (U.S.) with business interruption losses many times that. Some plant employees believed that the polyurethane foam "would not sustain a fire" [1-13] so the foam was considered an appropriate material to seal cable penetrations. While the complete seal, with the protective material, had been tested under fire conditions, the tests had been conducted without a pressure differential. After the fire, the plant removed the existing seals and replaced them with silicon seals [1-12].

As a result of this fire, two significant changes related to fire stops occurred. The first was the development of an appropriate standard fire test to specifically evaluate the ability of through-penetration fire stops to remain in place and resist fire spread. This standards development activity, which occurred at the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), was paralleled by research sponsored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Fire Stops for Nuclear Plants [1-3]. The second change as a result of

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that fire was to recognize the need for pressure differentials when testing fire stops, as these differentials tend to adversely affect the performance of some fire stops.

1.4.4 MGM Grand Hotel Fire

The extent of fire spread at the MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas in 1980 [1-14, 1-15] was the result of numerous deficiencies in construction and fire protection. The 26-storey high-rise hotel was built in the form of a "T" in plan which sat above a large single storey and basement structure housing the casino and other services. The space between the Ground Floor and the hotel room towers was a deep, essentially undivided, return-air plenum. Seismic joints, approximately 300 mm wide, were located in all floors of the hotel to isolate two of the wings of the "T"; the bottoms of the shafts adjacent to these joints communicated directly with the large plenum over the Ground Floor. At each floor level in the hotel, non fire-rated panels separated the seismic joint from the corridor [1-14].

The fire began in a room adjacent to the casino and rapidly spread to the casino and other spaces on the Ground Floor. Smoke and fire moved into the return air plenum above the Ground Floor and, from there, smoke spread up the shaft adjacent to the seismic joints in the high-rise tower [1-15]. Of the 84 casualties in this fire, 64 were in the hotel high-rise towers.

Among the many factors contributing to this tragedy, the inquiries identified that construction and seismic joints, if not appropriately fire stopped to prevent fire and smoke spread, can be a significant hazard. The inquiries also reinforced the findings from the Brown's Ferry fire on the detrimental affects of pressure differentials across fire- stopped openings on smoke spread to other spaces in a building.

1.4.5 U.S.A. Study on Fire Causes

In 1977, the Center for Fire Research of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) published the results of a study on fire spread in multi-family residences in which fires spread beyond the area of origin [1-3; 1-16]. That study focussed on fires in low-rise residential buildings located in parts of Maryland and Virginia; most of the buildings were of wood frame or ordinary (load- bearing masonry walls and wood frame) construction. The study identified the lack of fire stops and fire blocks as the single greatest cause of extensive fire spread in these buildings.

Many of the deficiencies identified with fire stops and fire blocks had been previously identified and addressed by code writers, and had been incorporated in the applicable Codes. The study was instrumental, however, in identifying the magnitude of the problem of horizontal and vertical fire spread through buildings as a result of fire stop and fire block deficiencies. Some of those deficiencies include:

Penetration of fire separations by plumbing, mechanical and electrical services without fire stops.

Partitions stacked one on top of the other without fire blocks at floor or ceiling levels.

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Omission of fire blocks in furred-out exterior walls.

Lack of fire blocks between mansard roofs and attic spaces above these roofs. This was similarly observed at a fire in Winnipeg at the Fairland Meadows Complex in 1974.

Roof and floor cavities formed by wood trusses without appropriate fire blocks.

This NBS study, combined with the results of the Brown's Ferry Nuclear Plant and MGM Grand Hotel fires, provided fire protection professionals and code developers with a clear indication of the critical need for appropriate, well-defined fire stop and fire block techniques and materials. As well, these fires indicated the need for a greater focus on the expected installed performance of fire stop and fire block systems. The recommendations from the NBS study included specific changes for the model codes in the U.S.A.; many of these changes are included in all North American building codes today.

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1.5 The Effects of Fire Stops and Fire Blocks on Acoustic Separation of Spaces

In some circumstances where fire stops or fire blocks are installed, the fire-rated construction must also provide acoustical separation. One obvious example is that for multifamily residential buildings; some aspects of sound transmission are regulated via provisions of the National Building Code, or comparable codes in specific jurisdictions. But in addition, acoustical design requirements for a given building may apply to situations not addressed by the Building Code, or be more stringent than the minimum requirements of the Building Code.

One example is spaces in office or public buildings where speech privacy is essential; such as meeting rooms for client/lawyer discussion in courthouses. There is no Building Code provision to address such concerns, but performance requirements for acoustical separation may be specified.

Another example is luxury residential condominiums, where design objectives or performance requirements may be more stringent than minimum sound control requirements in the Building Code.

To address such concerns, this document also includes complementary information addressing acoustical performance requirements beyond the minimum design objectives of the Building Code:

In Chapter 2, sections on acoustics outline basics of noise control, and the specific standards and requirements that apply to fire stops and fire blocks.

Chapter 5 deals with acoustics in the current National Building Code of Canada.

For each example in Chapters 8 through 13 where there may be significant acoustical issues, guidance is given in a sidebar. In some cases, minimum requirements in the context of building codes are given. In other cases, additional requirements for good practice are given; in the latter cases, the non- regulatory context is identified both by headings and the use of non-mandatory language.

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Chapter 1 References

1-1.

Fire Stopping Service Penetrations in Buildings, The City of Calgary Building

1-2.

Regulations Division, Calgary, AB., 2003. National Building Code of Canada, Canadian Commission on Building and Fire

1-3.

Codes, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2005. Coté, A.E. (ed.), Fire Protection Handbook, 19 th Edition, National Fire Protection

1-4.

Association, Quincy, MA, 2003, p. 12-107. NFPA 5000 – Building Construction and Safety Code, National Fire Protection

1-5.

Association, Quincy, MA, 2003, p. 49. International Building Code, International Code Council Inc., Country Club Hills,

1-6.

IL., 2003. CAN/ULC-S115 – Standard Method of Fire Tests for Firestop Systems,

1-7.

Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, Scarborough, ON, 2005. National Building Code of Canada, Associate Committee on the National Building

1-8.

Code, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 1965. National Building Code of Canada, Associate Committee on the National Building

1-9.

Code, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 1970. National Building Code of Canada, Associate Committee on the National Building

1-10.

Code, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 1985. National Building Code of Canada, Associate Committee on the National Building

1-11.

Code, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 1990. Sawyer, R.G. and Elsner, J.A., Cable Fire at Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant,

1-12.

Fire Journal, Vol. 70, No. 4, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA, July 1976, pp. 5-10. Pryor, A.J., Brown's Ferry Revisited, Fire Journal, Vol. 71, No. 3, National Fire

1-13.

Protection Association, Quincy, MA, May 1977, pp. 85-89. Comey, D.D., The Fire at the Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Station, Friends of

1-14.

the Earth, California, 1976, www.ccnr.org/browns_ferry. Fire at the MGM Grand – A Preliminary Report, Fire Journal, Vol. 75, No. 2,

1-15.

National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA, March 1981, pp. 33-36. The MGM Grand Hotel Fire Investigation Report, Clark County Fire Department,

1-16.

Clark County, NV, 1981, www.co.clark.nv.us/fire/mgm_doc. Vogel, B.M., A Study of Fire Spread in Multi-Family Residences: The Causes – The Remedies, NBSIR76-1194, National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD, 1977.

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2.0 BASICS OF FIRE COMPARTMENTATION AND SOUND TRANSMISSION

For the purposes of this Guide, fire compartmentation is defined as:

Fire Compartmentation – the use of fire-rated, vertical and horizontal, structural and non-structural assemblies to contain fire to a specified area in a building for a specific period of time.

2.1 Fire Compartmentation History

Fire compartmentation has been one of the fundamental means of fire control for hundreds of years. The developers of building and fire codes instinctively knew the value of fire compartmentation and mandated it in early codes. In 1189, Henry Fitz- Allwyne, the first Lord Mayor of London, issued a building regulation that included the need for stone party walls 0.9 m thick and 4.9 m high [2-1]. The objective of that regulation was to establish a fire compartment no larger than the building on one side of the party wall. Over the centuries, that London regulation ceased to be enforced. The need for fire compartmentation in London was further emphasized following the Great Fire of London in 1666 when a new building regulation required stone and brick houses to have fire-resisting party walls [2-1].

As time went on, those involved in construction attempted to better quantify the fire resistance performance of the wall, floor and roof assemblies that created fire compartments. As early as 1790, architects in London were conducting tests to determine the relative merits of different fire barriers for periods of 1 to 2 hours [2-1]. It wasn't until the late 19 th century that standardized fire tests were developed both in the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. [2-1]. While those techniques and measurements were crude by today's standards, the basic fire exposure and minimum required fire barrier response from those 19 th century tests are similar to those used today. This early fire research and testing led to the "fire resistance ratings" for wall, roof and floor assemblies commonly used in the 21 st century. Assemblies with fire resistance ratings provide fire compartmentation in today's buildings.

2.2 Elements of Fire Compartmentation

Note: It should be noted that the discussion of Code concepts in this Chapter is limited to Part 3 of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). Similar concepts are applicable to Part 9 – Housing and Small Buildings; these are described in Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation and Chapter 6 – Code Requirements for Fire Block Installations and Sound Isolation.

2.2.1 Continuity of Fire Compartmentation

Fire compartmentation is achieved through the use of fire-rated assemblies commonly referred to in building codes as "fire separations". In the 2005 edition of the NBCC [2-2], a fire separation is defined as:

Fire Separation means a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire [Division A: 1.4.1.2 of NBCC 2005].

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An Appendix Note to that definition indicates that "A fire separation may or may not have a fire resistance rating" [Ref: A-1.4.1.2 of NBCC 2005]. A fire resistance rating is essentially the time that an assembly will resist fire spread in a standard fire test. Technically, a fire compartment would, when exposed to fire, have a minimal capacity to resist fire spread if the wall and floor assemblies were constructed of non-robust materials or with robust materials assembled incorrectly. In these cases, the fire resistance rating of the assemblies would be only a few minutes. On the other hand, if wall and floor assemblies comprised of robust materials (assembled correctly) were exposed to fire, the fire resistance rating of those assemblies could be a few hours and the fire compartment would fulfil its purpose for a longer period of time.

The importance of fire stops in achieving the needed continuity of fire separations to create fire compartments is stated, in principle, in the following requirement and Appendix Note:

"3.1.8.3

4) The continuity of a fire separation shall be maintained where it abuts another fire separation, a floor, a ceiling, a roof, or an exterior wall assembly. (See Appendix A.)" [Ref: 3.1.8.3.(4) of NBCC 2005]

"A-3.1.8.3.(4) Fire Separation Continuity. The continuity of a fire separation where it abuts against another fire separation, a floor, a ceiling or an exterior wall assembly is maintained by filling all openings at the juncture of the assemblies with a material that will ensure the integrity of the fire separation at that location. [Ref: A-3.1.8.3(4) of NBCC 2005]

While not specifically stated as such, a material which will fill "…all openings at the juncture of the assemblies …" is clearly a fire stop which will restrict the movement of fire, and sometimes smoke, to adjacent fire compartments. While no mention is made in this requirement about penetrations, it can easily be concluded that fire separation continuity is equally important when an item penetrates the fire separation and thus fire stops are needed.

From the perspective of fire stops, it is important to understand the relationship between fire resistance ratings and fire separations since, the higher the fire resistance rating desired, the more robust a fire stop used in those fire separations must be; i.e., the greater the hourly rating. The NBCC formally defines "fire resistance rating" as:

"Fire resistance rating means the time in minutes or hours that a material or assembly of materials will withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as determined by extension or interpretation of information derived therefrom as prescribed in this Code." [Ref: Division A: 1.4.1.2 of NBCC 2005]

So, to achieve fire compartmentation in a meaningful way, a defined area in a building must be surrounded by fire separations which can resist fire spread, when subjected to a standard fire test. In the NBCC, the standard test by which wall, roof and floor assemblies must be evaluated (and which defines the standard fire exposure that must be employed) is CAN/ULC-S101-M "Standard Methods of Fire Endurance Test of Building Construction and Materials" [2-3]. More information on this test standard is provided in Chapter 6 – Code Requirements for Fire Block Installations and Sound Isolation.

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For fire stops, the most important aspect of the requirements for fire compartmentation are the words in Article 3.1.8.1 of the NBCC 2005 (see below) which state that a fire separation "… be constructed as a continuous element …" and that openings in a fire separation … be protected with closures, shafts or other means …" [Ref: Article 3.1.8.1 of NBCC 2005]. Fire stops would be considered "other means" in this requirement.

3.1.8.1 General Requirements 1) Any wall, partition or floor assembly required to be a fire separation shall

a) except as permitted by Sentence (2), be constructed as a continuous element, and

b) as required in this Part, have a fire-resistance rating as specified (see

Appendix A). 2) Openings in a fire separation shall be protected with closures, shafts or other means in conformance with Articles 3.1.8.4 to 3.1.8.17. and Subsections 3.1.9. and 3.2.98. (See Appendix A.) [Ref: 3.1.8.1 of

NBCC 2005]

These requirements provide the basis for fire stops in the context of Canadian building codes: they provide a prescribed means to ensure the continuity of fire separations to achieve fire compartmentation. Further details on this concept are included in Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation.

2.2.2 Types of Fire Separations

Fire separations can be made up of a single construction material (e.g., masonry walls) or of a number of materials that form an assembly (e.g., gypsum board, studs, insulation). As well, under the NBCC, fire separations may or may not have a prescribed fire resistance rating. An examination of these four variables (single/multiple components and fire-rated/non-fire-rated) provides a shopping list of the various types of fire separations that can be encountered in buildings. Some roof assemblies and mezzanine floor assemblies are required to have fire resistance ratings under the NBCC, however, they do not need to be fire separations. This means that through-openings in these assemblies, such as for skylights, do not require additional protection to ensure continuity. The solid (unpenetrated) portions of these assemblies must, however, possess the specified fire resistance rating.

Table 2-1 provides a list of the types of fire separations (and fire resistance ratings) in which fire stops may be installed within the context of the NBCC.

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Table 2-1

Types of Fire Separations

   

Fire Separation

Fire Resistance

Fire Stops/Fire

Construction Type

Examples

Rating Required

Blocks Required

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Solid homogenous wall,

Concrete

X

 

X

 

X

 

floor or roof

(1)

floor or

           

wall

X

   

X

X

 
 

X

X

 

(3)

 
 

X

 

X

 

X

Solid membrane wall, floor, ceiling or roof (1)

Gypsum

X

 

X

 

X

 

board

           
 

ceiling (2)

 

X

 

X

 

X

Multi-component wall,

Wood or

X

 

X

 

X

 

floor or roof

(1)

assembly

steel stud

           
           
 

wall with

X

   

X

X

 

gypsum

           

board

 

X

X

 

(3)

 
 

X

 

X

 

X

Notes:

(1) Roof assemblies are required by the NBCC to have a fire resistance rating but are not required to be fire separations. This means that the solid portions of a roof must remain in place for the required time but that any openings in the roof assembly (e.g., skylights) are not required to be equipped with closures. Typically fire stops would not be required for openings in roof assemblies, such as where a plumbing vent pipe penetrates a roof deck. There are cases, such as where roofs expose exterior walls of adjacent buildings, that openings in roof assemblies may be required to be protected with fire stops. (2) This applies to assemblies in which all of the required fire resistance rating for the assembly is provided by the membrane alone (see 2.2.3). (3) Fire stops would be required if an opening could result in a decrease in the fire resistance rating of the structural assembly. An opening which does not impact negatively on fire resistance is assumed to not require fire stops.

2.2.3 Membrane Ratings

From Table 2-1, the entry "Solid Membrane Wall, Floor, Ceiling or Roof" describes a type of fire separation that is frequently used in construction. Codes permit two arrangements to achieve fire resistance ratings for assemblies made up of multiple components. The first, which is more common, is an assembly where all components collectively combine to provide the prescribed rating. An example is a typical wall comprised of gypsum board on both faces attached to studs, with insulation between the studs. All three components may be required to achieve a particular fire resistance rating, for example of 1 h.

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For the purposes of this Guide and as a suggestion to users, another arrangement can be used to provide fire resistance in structural systems with multiple components. In a framed apartment building, for example, to achieve appropriate fire compartmentation, the fire separations around each apartment must be continuous so vertical fire separations would normally have to penetrate a gypsum board ceiling and abut the floor or roof deck above. With structural members and electrical, plumbing and HVAC services being installed above many such ceilings, it is often impractical to have these vertical fire separations penetrate the truss or joist space above.

One suggested solution to that problem is to terminate the walls at the ceiling membrane– which now must possess the required fire resistance rating for the entire assembly to ensure fire compartment continuity. This method of placing all of the fire resistance in the ceiling membrane alone (and its supports above the membrane to hold it in place) leads to fire stops at openings in such a ceiling having to be more robust than for an assembly in which multiple components contribute to the fire resistance. At this time, there do not appear to be any listed fire stop systems specifically designed to address penetrations through this type of membrane-only rated assemblies.

The concept of a membrane alone providing all of the fire resistance for the assembly is articulated in the NBCC for horizontal service spaces as shown below. The Appendix Note differentiates between the fire resistance of a membrane evaluated as part of an assembly and of a membrane evaluated on its own.

"3.6.4.2.(2) If a horizontal service space or other concealed space is located above a required vertical fire separation, other than a vertical shaft, this space need not be divided at the fire separation as required by Article 3.1.8.3. provided the construction between this space and the space below is a fire separation with

a fire-resistance rating equivalent to that required for the vertical fire separation,

except that the fire-resistance rating is permitted to be not less than 30 min if the vertical fire separation is not required to have a fire-resistance rating more than 45 min. (See Appendix A.)" [Ref: 3.6.4.2.(2) of NBCC 2005]

"A-3.6.4.2.(2) Ceiling Membrane Rating. In construction assemblies that utilize membrane ceiling protection and have been assigned a fire-resistance rating on the basis of a fire test, the membrane is only one of the elements contributing to the performance of the assembly and does not in itself provide the protection implied by the rating. For the fire-resistance rating of membrane materials used

in this form of construction, reference should be made to the results of fire tests

which have been conducted to specifically evaluate the performance of this

element." [Ref: A-3.6.4.2.(2) of NBCC 2005]

The fire tests to which the Appendix Note refers would need to be those which provide information on membranes which stay in place and keep the non-fire side of the fire-exposed gypsum board below an average of 140°C or a maximum of 180°C, for the required time. These are the requirements for a rated fire separation.

Certification (Listing) agencies often list "finish ratings" for gypsum membranes in multi-component systems. A finish rating could, in fact, serve as a "membrane rating" if it were sufficiently high to provide the needed fire resistance rating for the entire assembly. Further information on finish ratings to obtain a 1 h or 2 h fire resistance rated membrane can be found in Reference 2-4.

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Appendix D to the NBCC 2005 – Fire-Performance Ratings [2-5] also contains information on ceiling membrane ratings as shown below. These provisions are targeted at meeting the intent of the NBCC for membrane-only fire resistance ratings. As can be seen in requirement D-2.3.12. (below), this rating can be used "… provided no openings are located within the ceiling membrane". This provision would seem to imply that this ceiling membrane cannot be penetrated. Assuming that to be the case, fire stops would not be required if this method is used to provide a ceiling membrane rating.

"D-2.3.12. Ceiling Membrane Rating. Where the fire-resistance rating of a ceiling assembly is to be determined on the basis of the membrane only and not of the complete assembly, the ratings may be determined from Table D-2.3.12., provided no openings are located within the ceiling membrane.

 

Table D-2.3.12. Fire-Resistance Rating for Ceiling Membranes

 
 

Description of Membrane

Fire-Resistance Rating, min

15.9 mm Type X gypsum wallboard with 75 mm mineral wool batt insulation above wallboard

 

30

19

mm gypsum-sand plaster on metal lath

30

Double 14.0 mm Douglas Fir plywood phenolic bonded

30

Double 12.7 mm Type X gypsum wallboard

45

25

mm gypsum-sand plaster on metal lath

45

Double 15.9 mm Type X gypsum wallboard

60

32

mm gypsum-sand plaster on metal lath

60

[Ref: D-2.3.12. of NBCC 2005]

 

Membrane-only fire resistance ratings then are available from certification agencies as "finish ratings", from individual fire test reports or research papers or from Appendix D to the NBCC 2005. As explained above, the manufacturers of listed fire stop systems do not yet provide listed solutions to protect openings in these membrane fire separations. The performance of these fire stops would have to meet the performance of the membrane to prevent the fire from entering the concealed space (i.e., an FT rating for the same duration as the fire resistance rating). To provide the intended level of safety, assurance of fire stop performance to prevent ignition in the concealed space is needed.

As indicated above, it is also not certain that membranes assigned ratings on the basis of Appendix D to the NBCC would be permitted to have penetrations. While the intent of the NBCC related to membrane-only ratings is clear and the application for membrane-only fire-rated ceilings widespread, there is an absence of listed fire stop systems for this application. An engineered judgement (see Chapter 7 – Basic Issues Related to Best Practice for Fire Stops and Fire Blocks) would be required to develop a technical solution for fire stops for penetrations of these membranes.

2.2.4 Smoke Separations

Table 2-1 also shows entries where fire separations are not required to have prescribed fire resistance ratings. In the NBCC, such fire separations are intended to restrict the spread of smoke for a period of time. That intent is stated in an Appendix Note:

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"A-3.1.8.1.(1)(b) Barrier to Control Smoke Spread. Although a fire separation is not always required to have a fire resistance rating, the fire separation should act as a barrier to the spread of smoke and fire until some response is initiated. If the fire resistance rating of a fire separation is waived on the basis of the presence of an automatic sprinkler system, it is intended that the fire separation will be constructed so that it will remain in place and act as a barrier against the spread of smoke for a period of time until the sprinklers have actuated and controlled the fire." [Ref: A-3.1.8.1.(1)(b) of NBCC 2005]

For the fire separation to act as a barrier against the spread of smoke, some form of fire stop may be required to protect openings in that fire separation. Technically, the fire stops in a smoke separation should meet the performance criteria of a fire separation without a fire resistance rating – which may be for only a few minutes. Such listed fire stop systems should be non-permeable for as long as the fire separation withstands the spread of smoke. Insulation batts alone may not be suitable for this application. Acoustic caulking may be a solution that would meet both fire and acoustic needs of these separations. Another option that may be used is to employ a fire stop with an "L" rating – meaning it has been tested for air leakage, however, an "L" rating is not currently a requirement of the NBCC. The time duration for which this smoke spread must be restricted by this protection is not articulated by the NBCC but it can be estimated to be a few minutes; i.e., "the time until sprinklers have actuated and controlled the fire".

From the NBCC references above, it can be surmised that any non-permeable fire stop in a smoke separation should resist smoke spread for a few minutes. Where a caulk or similar less permeable product may achieve this performance, insulation batts may not. The ability of insulation batts to resist smoke spread will depend on such factors as the insulation density and the percentage of compression within the opening. Best practice would dictate using a product which can be expected to resist smoke spread for a few minutes.

2.2.5 How to Achieve Fire Resistance Ratings

The NBCC provides three methods that can be used to establish a fire resistance rated assembly:

Testing and certification by an agency qualified to undertake such work. This is the most commonly used approach especially when proprietary materials are used.

The methods described in Appendix D of the NBCC [2-5]. These provide ratings for some assemblies using generic materials. These ratings can be applied to buildings built under both Parts 3 (large buildings) and 9 (small buildings). For framed assemblies, the maximum fire resistance rating using Appendix D is limited to 90 min.

The deemed-to-comply Tables in Appendix A of the NBCC [Ref:

A-9.10.3.1 of NBCC 2005]. These tables contain extensive descriptions of assemblies that have been assigned fire resistance ratings by the Code Committees, based primarily on published research. These assemblies are made up of generic materials and are accepted for buildings constructed under Part 9 of the NBCC.

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Whichever method is used to determine the fire resistance rating, the assembly must still be continuous to be a fire separation. As such, openings in that assembly must be protected with closures or fire stops. With respect to these three methods, from the fire stop perspective, it is important to note that Parts 3 and 9 of the NBCC treat fire resistance ratings differently and also treat fire stop materials differently. This is explained in detail in Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation.

2.3 Protection of Openings In and Between Fire Separations

To maintain the continuity of fire compartmentation, building codes in North America require that openings in and between fire separations be protected by some means to prevent fire and smoke spread from the fire compartment. The NBCC states this requirement as:

"3.1.8.1.(2) Openings in a fire separation shall be protected with closures, shafts or other means in conformance with Articles 3.1.8.4. to 3.1.8.17. and Subsections 3.1.9. and 3.2.8…." [Ref: Sentence 3.1.8.1.(2) of NBCC 2005]

As indicated in 2.2.1 of this Guide, fire stops would qualify as the "other means". Shafts are fire rated in the same manner as walls. Closures, however, need to be discussed since the method of rating them is different from rating walls or floors. See Table 2-2 as an example of how fire stops and other closures are treated differently by the NBCC for both fire separations and fire walls. The NBCC defines a "closure" as:

"Closure means a device or assembly for closing an opening through a fire separation or an exterior wall, such as a door, a shutter, wired glass or glass block, and includes all components such as hardware, closing devices, frames and anchors." [Ref: Division A: 1.4.1.2 of NBCC 2005]

Prior to that, it is important to understand that the NBCC treats a firewall differently from a fire separation – primarily in the fact that a firewall creates a separate "building" for purposes of application of the Code. The NBCC defines "firewall" as:

"Firewall means a type of fire separation of noncombustible construction that subdivides a building or separates adjoining buildings to resist the spread of fire and that has a fire-resistance rating as prescribed in this Code and has structural stability to remain intact under fire conditions for the required fire-rated time." [Ref: Division A: 1.4.1.2 of NBCC 2005]

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Table 2-2

Example of Protection for Continuity of Fire Barriers

Protection

Fire Barrier

Closures (e.g., doors)

Fire Stops

Fire Separation

2 h FRR (1)

1 ½ h FPR (2)

1 ½ h F Rating

Firewall (1)

2 h FRR

1 ½ FPR (3)

2 h FT Rating

Notes:

(1) FRR – Fire Resistance Rating – prevent flame transfer and high temperatures (FT Rating). (2) FPR – Fire Protection Rating – prevent flame transfer only (F Rating). (3) Temperature rise limit of 250°C after 30 min also required.

In principle, a fire stop is a type of "closure" given the words of the definition. However, the NBCC later clarifies that while fire stops have to achieve ratings not less than "the fire protection rating for closures in the fire separation [Ref: Sentence 3.1.9.1.(1) of the NBCC 2005], higher ratings are required for fire stops than fire doors for protecting openings in firewalls and similar major fire separations as shown in Table 2-2. Details of this are provided in Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation.

There are a number of standards referenced for the rating of closures such as for fire doors, fire windows and fire dampers. The exact details of these standards for rating closures are not essential to an understanding of rating of fire stops and fire blocks, however, the underlying concept of a "fire protection rating" for a closure is important. The NBCC defines "fire protection rating" as:

"Fire protection rating means the time in hours or fraction thereof that a closure will withstand the passage of flame when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as otherwise prescribed in this Code. [Ref: Division A: 1.4.1.2 of NBCC 2005]

To obtain a fire protection rating, the closure has to withstand only the passage of flame, in most cases, whereas a fire separation has to withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat to obtain a fire resistance rating. Some fire separations are also required to demonstrate a level of residual integrity following the fire endurance period as evidenced by having to then pass the hose stream test described in CAN/ULC- S101 [2-3]. The first two measures become an issue when discussing the rating of fire stops and fire blocks in Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation and Chapter 6 – Code Requirements for Fire Block Installations and Sound Isolation. Some fire stops and fire blocks can withstand both temperatures and flame while others can withstand only flame – and their specific uses are assigned accordingly.

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2.4 Concealed Spaces in Construction

The MGM Grand Hotel fire described in Chapter 1 – Introduction provides an example of fire and smoke spread through a concealed space in a building, even if the building is of non-combustible construction. As well, as indicated in Chapter 1 – Introduction, there are numerous examples of fire spread through concealed spaces (floors, attics, mansard roofs) where combustible materials are used. This is not restricted to combustible construction but applies where combustible materials are used in construction. To prevent fire spread beyond the occupied fire compartments located below or above concealed spaces, codes typically require that fire separations below a concealed space be continued through the space to the floor or roof deck above. (See discussion of alternative means in 2.2.3 above.)

The NBCC contains an extensive list of spaces that must be provided with fire blocks (the NBCC uses the term "fire stops") to maintain fire compartmentation, or to prevent extensive fire spread in a space in which locating a fire source may be difficult and fire fighting may be ineffective. The basic requirement for fire blocks in the NBCC is:

"3.1.11.1. Separation of Concealed Spaces 1) Concealed spaces in interior wall, ceiling and crawl spaces shall be separated from concealed spaces in exterior walls and attic or roof spaces by fire stops conforming to Article 3.1.11.7." [Ref: 3.1.11.1.(1) of NBCC 2005]

While not stated specifically in the NBCC, best practice in restricting fire spread in a building would dictate that fire blocks should also be installed to separate concealed spaces in floor assemblies from other concealed spaces. As well, fire stops are needed between a floor assembly and an exterior wall to prevent vertical fire spread from floor to floor through that space. These perimeter fire stops will be discussed in Chapter 3 – Types of Fire Stops and Fire Stop Materials.

As well as the fire blocks between concealed spaces, the NBCC also requires fire blocks to reduce the area of a concealed space to a manageable size (e.g., a ceiling space or crawl space). [Ref: 3.1.11.6 of NBCC 2005 as an example shown below.] Typically, the fire blocks to reduce the area of a concealed space are waived if the space is sprinklered; this waiver does not, however, apply to other fire blocks between the attic, roof space or crawl space and other concealed spaces.

"3.1.11.6. Fire Stopping of Crawl Spaces 1) A crawl space that is not considered as a basement by Article 3.2.2.9. and in which sprinklers are not installed, shall be separated by construction conforming to Article 3.1.11.7. into compartments not more than 600 m 2 in area with no dimension more than 30 m." [Ref: 3.1.11.6.(1) of NBCC 2005]

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2.5 Effect of Fire Stops and Fire Blocks on Acoustical Separation

In some cases, the separations where fire stops or fire blocks are required must also provide acoustical isolation between adjacent spaces. For multifamily residential buildings, some aspects of the sound transmission are regulated via the provisions of the National Building Code (or comparable codes in specific jurisdictions). Additional design requirements may be added, especially for expensive multi-family residential buildings (where more stringent design criteria than the minimum requirements of the Building Code are commonly required), or in office or public buildings where speech privacy is needed.

With this in mind, discussion here identifies the issues specifically addressed by Codes, but also presents some other aspects contributing to good noise control that arise in dealing with fire stop systems or fire blocks.

For sound transmission testing in a laboratory, sound is transmitted from one

room to another only through the separating wall or floor specimen under test. In a building, however, there are many paths for transmission of sound and associated

structure-borne vibration, as indicated in Figure 2.A.

between adjacent rooms in a building is often much less than would be expected from

rated sound transmission performance of the separating wall or floor assembly.

As a result, sound isolation

Structure-borne Structure-borne transmission via transmission via room surfaces room surfaces Sound Sound source
Structure-borne Structure-borne transmission via transmission via room surfaces room surfaces Sound Sound source
Structure-borne
Structure-borne
transmission via
transmission via
room surfaces
room surfaces
Sound
Sound
source
source
Direct Transmission
Direct Transmission
through partition
through partition
Transmission via leak
Transmission via leak
or weaker area
or weaker area
Figure 2.A: Illustration of some typical paths for sound transmission

This happens because, in addition to direct transmission through the nominal separating construction (wall or floor), sound penetrates via any leaks or weak spots, and also causes structure-borne vibration in all surfaces of the source room. Some of this structure-borne vibration is transmitted across the surfaces (walls, floors or ceiling) and through junctions where these surfaces connect, and is radiated as sound into the receiving room.

All of these transmission paths are relevant in assessing the acoustic performance in a building in the context of requirements for fire stops and fire blocks. From the occupants’ perspective, what matters is the overall sound isolation between the adjacent spaces, including the combined effect of all transmission paths.

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Key issues of concern include:

Direct sound transmission through the nominal partition – the wall or floor assembly that separates a space from the adjacent one – is the primary focus of all North American building codes. Basic requirements for attenuation of airborne sound by an assembly are presented in conjunction with the fire resistance requirements in all North American Codes, in terms of standard ASTM test methods and ratings.

Leaks and weak spots may transmit additional sound energy, compromising the effective sound isolation provided by the main surface of the partition. Gaps at the junctions of wall and floor assemblies, or at penetrations where building services pass through a wall or floor, may transmit sound from one side to the other that can significantly degrade the sound isolation. Fire stops are used to provide continuity of fire separation at such spots – they should also attenuate sound, or the separating partition will not provide its rated acoustical performance.

Many wall and floor assemblies achieve their rated sound insulation by having a “vibration break” suppressing the transmission of structure-borne vibration (and hence sound) from one face of the partition to the other. Common examples are double stud wall assemblies with two parallel sets of framing having only minimal connections at room boundaries, or assemblies using resilient metal channels of lightweight steel to attach gypsum board to studs or joists. Similar concepts are used to suppress structure borne sound in general. Fire blocks are used to control spread of fire via hidden spaces, but fire blocks can short circuit vibration breaks – this can significantly compromise the overall sound isolation.

2.6

Rating Sound Transmission Through Fire Stops

2.6.1

Technical Standards for Sound Control

Measurement and rating of sound transmission between adjoining spaces is addressed in a set of ASTM standards. As discussed in Chapter 5, these ASTM standards are referenced in the National Building Code of Canada, all the provincial and municipal codes based on the NBCC, and corresponding codes in the USA. They define methods for measuring the transmission of airborne sound through an assembly (wall or floor), or the overall sound isolation between rooms in a complete building, and provide single-number ratings based on such measurement results.

ASTM Standard E90 [2-6] is the standard laboratory test method for measuring airborne sound transmission through separating assemblies such as walls, floor-ceiling assemblies, and other space-dividing elements. This method determines airborne sound transmission loss in a specified set of frequency bands.

ASTM Standard E336 [2-7] is the test method for determining the sound insulation between two rooms in a building - the field test counterpart of ASTM E90. The evaluation may be made including all paths by which sound is transmitted, or attention may be focused only on the wall or floor assembly

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separating the two rooms. When it is required to demonstrate that a specific wall or floor assembly in a finished building complies with specifications, a test satisfying specific requirements that include eliminating “flanking” transmission (leaks or structure-borne transmission along paths other than that through the common partition) will be required; such results are designated “field transmission loss”. Measurements may also be made without taking any steps to eliminate flanking transmission, in which case results are designated “apparent transmission loss”. The latter indicates the overall airborne sound isolation that would be perceived by occupants.

ASTM Standard E413 [2-8] gives single-number acoustical ratings from E90 and E336 results. The rating increases with better sound attenuation. The name given to the single-number rating depends on the test method used. If the test method is ASTM E90, the rating is called sound transmission class (STC). If ASTM E336 is used with precautions that ensure negligible transmission except via the partition separating the rooms (i.e. – no flanking transmission) the rating is called field sound transmission class (FSTC). If ASTM E336 is used without steps to make flanking transmission negligible, the rating is called apparent sound transmission class (ASTC). The ASTC rating was introduced in the 2005 version of ASTM E336, and is recommended as the most suitable criterion for specifying sound isolation between occupancies in a building. Corresponding ISO standards have included “apparent sound reduction” terminology for many years, and such ratings are used in building code requirements in most developed countries other than Canada and the USA.

2.6.2 A Framework for Acoustical Rating of Fire Stops:

The requirements for acoustical separations in a building are expressed as the STC rating for performance of the entire separating construction, including any fire stop component(s), as discussed earlier. This rating is normalized to the area of the separating wall or floor assembly. Obviously, acoustical testing of a fire stop should provide a rating that is easily related to these STC limits.

At present, there is no established industry practice for acoustical testing or rating of fire stop systems, and reporting of acoustical performance is far from uniform. This could be addressed by establishing an industry test method based on the standards referenced in the Building Code (see Chapter 5). This could take the form of a manufacturers’ test method or a consensus standard, but should provide a framework for at least two key aspects:

A protocol for installing test specimens for various types of fire stop systems at penetrations through wall or floor assemblies, or at junctions of such assemblies, and details of how to use the standard test method to evaluate them and calculate the values to be reported.

A protocol for reporting results that can easily be used to compare products or to assess whether a product is acoustically suitable for a specific application.

With standardized test results, designers could readily assess expected sound transmission through a given fire stop relative to an acoustical objective.

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2.6.3 Testing Protocol:

Laboratory testing by ASTM E90, with fire stop specimens installed in a wall or floor assembly, would give results obviously related to Building Code requirements. But getting results truly representative of sound transmission through the fire stop imposes additional requirements:

The supporting assembly should have suitable sound transmission characteristics (preferably STC 60 or better, with a dependence on frequency similar to the STC contour).

For different types of fire stop systems, different installation rules would be appropriate, but in general, multiple samples of the fire stop should be installed, and their combined surface area should be as large as possible (up to ~10% of the assembly’s surface area).

This approach gives a lower STC for the test specimen (the fire stops and supporting assembly together) but the transmission due to the fire stop alone can then be obtained, and the result can be normalized to allow for the specific case of interest (see section on reporting results below). This approach avoids the systematic underestimate of the performance of the fire stop, due to including sound transmission through the supporting assembly.

2.6.4 Reporting Results

One obvious approach would be to establish the limiting case for which sound transmission through a given type of fire stop gives STC 50 or 55 (the minimum requirements in the Building Code). This could be expressed differently depending on the type of fire stop. For example:

For fire stop systems with well-defined dimensions, the number of such units giving STC of 50 or 55 can be calculated from a test result for any known number of units, using the obvious rule that N identical treated openings will transmit N times the sound power passing through one.

For fire stop systems sealing slits such as the crack at the bottom of a wall, or the joint where a wall meets the floor above, the total length of such fire stop giving STC of 50 or 55 can be calculated from a test result for a known length, using the rule that transmitted sound power will scale with total length.

Product ratings in these forms could be readily compared with one another, and assessed for suitability relative to the design requirement in a specific case. Given a well-defined reporting scheme, consultants could adapt the results to assess suitability in cases such as condominiums where good sound insulation is required.

2.7 Cases where Sound Ratings are not Required for Fire Stops

Requirements for sound control generally apply to separations between occupied spaces – the provisions of the NBCC apply between dwellings, and additional design objectives for offices or better dwellings typically apply to sound isolation between adjacent rooms. Whether the criteria are in terms of the sound transmission class of the separating assembly or the ASTC of the complete construction, they are concerned with sound reaching the space where a person may hear it.

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But in many cases, there is no justification for requiring an STC rating for the subassembly penetrated by a fire stop system. These fit in three overlapping categories:

2.7.1 Separation between Service Spaces:

In many cases, fire stop systems are required to maintain continuity of a fire separation between (hidden) service spaces. This could include equipment rooms, or other service spaces, such as the space above a gypsum board ceiling where pipes, ducts, or electrical services might be installed. In such cases, additional constructions such as the gypsum board ceiling contribute to sound attenuation, and the sound attenuation provided between the occupied spaces (the rooms below the ceiling) by the complete built system may be significantly greater than that for the specific wall segment above the ceiling and any fire stops it may include. In such situations, although requirements for fire performance may apply, there is no basis for specifying a STC requirement for the fire stop or the hidden part of the separating assembly in which it is installed.

2.7.2 Penetration or Joint Covered by Other Elements:

A fire stop system at a joint or service penetration may be covered by other

elements – for example, see Figures 8.E and 8.F where a water closet is installed above

a penetration through a floor assembly.

reduction at the penetration will be provided by the covering element. Any STC criterion should apply to the complete separating assembly.

In such cases, at least part of the sound

2.7.3 Penetration through One Surface of Cavity Construction:

Similarly, no specific acoustic requirement can be specified for a fire stop at a penetration through just one surface of a cavity construction – such as a penetration of just the gypsum board ceiling of a floor/ceiling assembly. In such cases, the acoustical requirement should apply to the complete separating assembly. In practice, small penetrations through one surface of a joist floor or stud wall have little effect on the acoustical separation, if there is acoustical insulation in the cavity.

Chapters 8 to 13 present both specific examples of cases where STC ratings of fire stops should not be required, and examples of good practice for fire stops maintaining the acoustical performance of constructions separating occupied spaces where a rating would be useful.

2.8 Other Noise Control Objectives

Ratings for fire stop systems at penetrations through an assembly are not the only aspect of noise control that needs to be considered. Some other concerns that are addressed in this Guide are:

In addition to the problem of limiting transmission of airborne sound from neighbours’ voices and other such sources, good noise control requires suppressing the sound from building services (such as plumbing and ventilation systems) hidden within wall or floor assemblies. Frequently the pipes or ducts are enclosed in a service chase. Specific proprietary products can be used to reduce vibration at source or reduce vibration transfer to the supporting

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construction, but generic construction details to control the resulting structure- borne vibration can also significantly reduce such noise. These issues are addressed for specific examples in Chapters 8 to12.

The effect of fire stop or fire block systems on transmission of structure-borne sound may compromise the ASTC in some cases. Some examples of good practice are given for specific examples in Chapter 13.

Of course, many aspects of noise control have been ignored here. For example, impact sound from footsteps can also be a significant concern, and is regulated by some Codes (although not by the NBCC), but is ignored here because it adds no additional considerations for fire stop systems or fire blocks.

Chapter 2 References

2-1.

Richardson, J.K. (ed.), History of Fire Protection Engineering, National Fire

2-2.

Protection Association, Quincy, MA, 2003, Chapter 1 – Historical Evaluation of Fire Protection Engineering, Chapter 2 – Fire Severity and Fire Resistance. National Building Code of Canada, Canadian Commission on Building and Fire

2-3.

Codes, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2005. CAN/ULC-S101-M, Standard Methods of Fire Endurance Tests of Building

2-4.

Construction and Materials, Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, Scarborough, ON, 1989. GA-610, Fire Resistance Provided by Gypsum Board Membrane Protection,

2-5.

Gypsum Association, Washington, DC, 2002. Appendix D to the National Building Code of Canada, National Research Council

2-6.

of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2005. ASTM E 90-04, Standard Test Method for Laboratory Measurement of Airborne

2-7.

Sound Transmission Loss of Building Partitions and Elements, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2004 ASTM E 336-05, Standard Test Method for Measurement of Airborne Sound

2-8.

Insulation in Buildings, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2005 ASTM E 413-04, Classification for Rating Sound Insulation, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2004

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3.0 TYPES OF FIRE STOPS AND FIRE STOP MATERIALS

3.1 Introduction

Fire stops have been designed for the numerous arrangements needed to maintain the continuity of fire compartmentation. While there are many ways of categorizing these products and systems, this Best Practice Guide will use the definitions of "fire stop" and "fire block", provided in Chapter 1 – Introduction, and the test standards by which they are rated as the basis for classification. Recall from Chapter 1 – Introduction that fire stops are used to fill gaps around fire separations, or around items that wholly or partially penetrate fire separations.

Fire Stops include through-penetration fire stops, membrane-penetration fire stops, blank opening fire stops, construction joint systems and building perimeter protection. In all cases for fire stops, the fire stop system is ensuring the integrity of a fire compartment and, in most cases, it is rated by CAN/ULC-S115 "Standard Method of Fire Tests of Firestop Systems" [3-1].

It could be argued that construction joint and building perimeter fire stop systems may be better classified as fire blocks than fire stops since they are often located in a concealed space. While this is true as far as location is concerned, the deciding factor in classifying them as fire stops is the manner in which they are tested. The 2005 edition of CAN/ULC-S115 [3-1] includes joint firestop systems as part of that standard. (See definition below.) Since these linear systems are being tested and certified using the same standard as through-penetration fire stops, they will be classified as "fire stops". While some building perimeter fire stops are still not addressed by CAN/ULC-S115, it is expected that they will be in the future.

Joint Firestop System – Material(s) and construction intended for use in linear openings between adjacent fire resistive structures" [Ref: 1.7C of CAN/ULC-

S115].

In this Best Practice Guide, fire stops will be divided into the following groupings as explained in the following sections. Fire blocks will be addressed in Chapter 4 – Types of Fire Blocks and Fire Block Materials.

Through-penetration fire stops

Membrane-penetration fire stops

Construction joint fire stops

Building perimeter fire stops

3.2 Fire Stop Materials

Numerous proprietary and generic products are available to serve as fire stops. Chapter 3 – Types of Fire Stops and Fire Stop Materials is not intended to delve into the precise details of each such product but to provide the user with an introduction to the myriad of products available to perform the fire stop functions. Many of these products (and systems) are proprietary and are listed by one or more certification agencies. The unique chemical/physical attributes of most of these products or systems are protected by patents so that descriptions of their specific fire stop properties are not possible.

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However, some generic products, permitted to be used as fire stops by codes, possess attributes that are well documented in the literature.

Users should note that the term "fire stop", as defined for use in this Guide, refers to the type of material or component used. A "listed fire stop system" refers to a tested and certified design which may be comprised of a number of fire stop products described in this chapter. In many cases, a listed fire stop system will be needed to meet the code requirements as described in Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation.

For the purposes of this Guide, fire stop products (and systems) will be assembled into “groupings” and basic information provided about each grouping. These high level descriptions will enable a user to select a product or system with a basic knowledge of its construction and attributes. In this Best Practice Guide, fire stop materials and products have been divided into the following groupings which are listed in random order:

Caulks and sealants

Putties

Mortars and grouts

Foams

Coatings and sprays

Wraps

Blocks, pillows and bags

Composite sheets and boards

Fire stop devices

Generic materials

Properties of Fire Stops– Fire stops perform their required functions as a result of the fire resisting properties of the materials used in their construction, in combination with their appropriate installation. These fire-resisting properties result in the blocking of flame transmission, resisting high temperature transmission, or both, and sometimes resist smoke or water transmission. These properties thus enable the material or system to perform its required function. Each product possesses one or more of the following properties [3-2]:

Intumescence – is the property of a material to increase in volume upon exposure to heat. This action causes the fire stop to fill the opening thus creating a seal in a fire separation. A typical intumescent product begins to swell at approximately 121°C, and reaches full expansion at levels of 540°C or above before it hardens into a rigid material. The rigid char layer, formed when the product intumesces, insulates and prevents fire penetration through the opening.

Endothermic reaction – is the property in which a material absorbs the heat of the exposing fire by using that heat to decompose the material. A typical example is gypsum, which contains water bound in crystalline form. These crystals require a large quantity of heat to break down and release and evaporate the water. By absorbing heat on the fire-exposed side, the material retards heat transfer to the unexposed side.

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Ablative reaction – is the property in which a material resists heat transfer by using the heat of the exposing fire to erode the material. The material, by sacrificing itself, protects the unexposed side from rapid temperature rise until it is spent. A typical example is a silicon-based fire stop material.

Insulation – is the property by which a material resists heat transfer as the result of its low thermal conductivity. Insulating materials used in fire stops must be stable at high temperatures to preserve their properties when exposed to fire. A typical example is a mineral wool made from fibres with a melting point well above the expected fire temperatures.

A particular fire stop system achieves its various ratings (F, T, H, L, FT, FH, FTH) (See Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation) on the basis of which of these properties or combinations of properties it possesses. In Canada, fire stop systems achieving these ratings are certified by Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (through their c UL labelling) and Intertek Testing Services (formerly Warnock Hersey). Each of these certifies systems conforming to CAN/ULC S115. In the U.S.A., there are a number of nationally- recognized certification agencies which also certify these systems.

Limitations – Each fire stop system or material has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific application. The user should consult the manufacturers' product literature and the product listing to determine the limitations of each listed fire stop system for specific purposes. Some issues that a user should consider in making decisions on a fire stop material or system include:

Ease of application at low temperatures

Chemical compatibility

Material safety restrictions

Resistance to water and moisture penetration

Resistance to smoke penetration

Volatile organic compounds emitted

Resistance to ultraviolet light and radiation

Ease of re-penetration

Potential to be dislodged by shrinkage or settlement of construction materials

Adaptability to complex openings or congested locations

Ease of clean-up

Paintability

Ability to adapt to some movement (flexibility)

Ability to be poured into an opening and the need for damming material

Speed and ease of installation

Resistance to cutting, tearing and impact

Ability to be used in large openings

Ease of removal and re-installation

Potential for vandalism or damage to installed system

Need for skilled labour for installation

Quality control of installation

Adaptability to field adjustments for installation

Timing of installation during construction process

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3.3 Through-Penetration Fire Stops

Through-penetration fire stops are those that are employed when a penetrating item passes entirely through a fire separation. Such an opening creates the opportunity for fire and smoke to spread directly from one fire compartment to another. A through- penetration fire stop system "consists of a fire-rated wall or floor, a penetrating item (pipe, cable, conduit, etc.) and the firestop material" [3-3]. When testing through- penetration fire stops, the complete system (fire separation, penetrating item and fire stop material) is tested and not just the fire stop material alone [3-3].

Figure 3.A: Example of a through-penetration fire stop

Figure 3.A: Example of a through-penetration fire stop

Through-penetration fire stop systems may be used to protect openings in wall or floor assemblies consisting of monolithic construction (e.g., concrete slab) or of multiple materials (e.g., gypsum board, insulation, studs) (see Figure 3.A). What is important to note is that the penetrating item passes through the entire assembly. Penetrating items may include piping, conduit, raceways, cable trays, bus ducts, cables, tubing, HVAC ducts or structural members. Penetrating items may be made of combustible or noncombustible materials; different fire stop systems are used for each type of penetrating item.

For assemblies where the entire fire resistance is provided by the protecting membrane (see Subsection 2.2.3 of this Guide), the selected through-penetration fire stop system must be able to maintain the entire rating at the back surface of the membrane and not just at the non-fire side of the complete assembly. This means that, in a standard fire test, fire cannot penetrate the membrane for the fire resistance time period.

There are some situations where an opening is created in a fire separation but the penetrating item has not yet been installed or has been removed. This can exist where cables penetrate a wall or floor assembly and changes to the cable arrangement

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are frequently made. These are sometimes referred to as "blank opening fire stops" and they are rated in the same manner as for through-penetration fire stops using CAN/ULC- S115, but without a penetrating item.

3.4 Membrane-Penetration Fire Stops

Figure 3.B: Example of membrane penetration fire stop

Figure 3.B: Example of membrane penetration fire stop

Membrane-penetration fire stops are those that are employed when a penetrating item passes through only one membrane of a fire-rated assembly (made up of multiple materials) but does not pass through the entire assembly (see Figure 3.B). Examples include an electrical box on one face of a wall with wiring or conduit inside the wall, or piping from a sink on one side of a wall. The failure of a membrane-penetration fire stop will allow fire to enter the assembly itself but not necessarily to immediately reach the non-fire side of the assembly. A membrane-penetration fire stop system consists of "a material, device or construction installed to resist … the passage of flame and heat through openings in a protective membrane in order to accommodate cables, cable trays, conduit, tubing, pipes or similar items" [3-3]. Penetrating items may include piping, conduit, raceways, cable trays, ducts, cables, tubing, HVAC ducts or structural members. Penetrating items may be made of combustible or non combustible materials; different fire stops are used for each type of penetrating item.

"Shaft wall" construction – Shaft walls are typically proprietary assemblies which have been certified as meeting the fire resistance requirements of the NBCC. Fire stop systems for shaft walls should be treated as through-penetration fire stops described in 3.3 of this Guide rather than as membrane-penetration fire stops addressed in this Section (see Figure 3.C).

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Figure 3.C: Example of shaft wall penetration fire stop

Figure 3.C: Example of shaft wall penetration fire stop

3.5 Construction Joint Fire Stops

Figure 3.D: Example of construction joint fire stop

Figure 3.D: Example of construction joint fire stop

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Construction joint fire stops are those which are installed where two adjacent fire separations or components of fire separations meet (see Figure 3.D). These locations include all ceiling/wall and roof/wall joints, wall/wall joints either at a corner or in the same plane, wall/floor joints, floor/floor joints and ceiling/ceiling joints. Typically, these joints are linear and are either in the horizontal or vertical planes. CANULC-S115 refers to these as "joint firestop systems" [3-1].

Construction joints in which fire stops are usually required include seismic joints, vertical control joints, expansion joints and joints which occur at the tops and bottoms of fire separation walls. Listings for construction joint fire stops include information about whether or not the joint is capable of accommodating a defined amount of movement (called dynamic joints) or if the fire stop has been tested as a static joint.

Where a top-of-wall joint abuts a corrugated steel roof deck or floor assembly, the shape of those fire stops will be somewhat irregular to follow the contours of the deck and thus maintain the continuity of the fire compartment. There are occasions where a fire-rated wall abuts the underside of a non-fire-rated roof deck, a situation not addressed currently in CAN/ULC-S115. Since CAN/ULC-S115 addresses only joints between two fire-rated assemblies, there are no listed fire stop systems for this type of construction. In this instance, an engineering judgement (see Chapter 7 – Basic Issues Related to Best Practice for Fire Stops and Fire Blocks) may be necessary to ensure that appropriate protection is provided.

3.6 Building Perimeter Fire Stops

The space between a fire-rated floor assembly and a curtain wall is one where unchecked fire and smoke spread can impact numerous floors simultaneously unless properly protected. This, while being a linear joint, is treated by CAN/ULC-S115 as an entity separate from the construction joints discussed in Section 3.5. The space between a curtain wall and a floor assembly is often called a "safing slot" and the fire stop used in it is often called a "perimeter fire barrier system" [3-4]. In this Guide, they will, however, be referred generically to as "building perimeter fire stops".

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Figure 3.E: Example of building perimeter fire stop

Figure 3.E: Example of building perimeter fire stop

Building perimeter fire stops (see Figure 3.E) are particularly important in high- rise buildings where differential pressures, caused by stack effect, exacerbate the movement of smoke – and the safing slot can be an ideal avenue for vertical fire and smoke spread. The NBCC does not specifically address building perimeter fire stops. The method of addressing the fire performance of most building perimeter fire stops is to consider the joint system as the means of providing continuity of the fire-rated floor assembly. Since the building perimeter fire stop is essentially an extension of the fire- rated floor assembly, its rating may typically be equal to the rating of the floor in which it is installed.

CAN/ULC-S115 (see below) states that CAN/ULC-S115 should not be used to evaluate building perimeter fire stops where a non-rated curtain wall is to be installed. It is expected that building perimeter fire stops will be addressed in a Canadian standard in the future. For fire-rated exterior walls, however, building perimeter fire stops conforming to CAN/ULC-S115 may be used.

1.8: The testing of a joint firestop system placed into a perimeter joint located between a fire rated floor and a non fire rated exterior wall is not intended to be tested using this test method. [Ref: 1.8 of CAN/ULC-S115, 2005].

In the U.S.A., a specific test method has been developed to evaluate building perimeter protection with non-rated curtain walls – the Intermediate Scale Multi-Story Apparatus [3-5]. This test method is intended to evaluate the protection of the safing slot where a curtain wall is not required to be fire-rated (see also Chapter 5 – Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation). With a non-rated curtain wall, appropriate fire stops in the safing slot will force the fire through the exterior wall, if it is trying to spread upward; the fire stop prevents smoke and fire spread through the cavity to the floor above. For building perimeter systems located between a fire-rated exterior wall and a fire-rated floor assembly, CAN/ULC-S115 can be used.

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3.7 Caulks and Sealants

Caulks and sealants are often used for single and multiple penetrations in an opening because they are adaptable to more complex and unusual penetrations and openings (see Figures 3.F, 3.G and 3.H). Caulks are normally applied around a penetrating item in an opening with a caulking gun to form a seal. A sealant is a similar material to a caulk that is applied with a trowel or putty knife, or is spray-applied. Caulks and sealants can possess intumescent or endothermic properties, depending on the specific material used. Caulks are used to seal the annular space around a penetration (e.g., pipe, cable, duct), or to cover a mineral fibre or similar material used in a construction joint [3-2]. Caulks and sealants can be of the latex, solvent-based or silicon types [3-6].

Figure 3.F: Examples of a fire stop sealant with insulation

Figure 3.F: Examples of a fire stop sealant with insulation

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Figure 3.G: Example of fire stop sealant without insulation

Figure 3.G: Example of fire stop sealant without insulation

Figure 3.H: Example of a self-levelling fire stop sealant

Figure 3.H: Example of a self-levelling fire stop sealant

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3.8

Putties

Putties are normally installed as fire stops in similar situations as caulks and sealants. Putties are fire stop materials that are mouldable and can be pressed manually into an opening in a fire-rated assembly (see Figure 3.I). They may possess either intumescent or endothermic reaction properties. Putties are sometimes used to create a fire stop envelope over electrical boxes embedded in stud walls (see Figure 3.J). Putties are mouldable and thus provide ease of entry as they remain pliable and reusable for years.

Users should be aware that putty pads for electrical boxes (See Figure 3.J) are not yet listed to CAN/ULC-S115 but to a comparable UL protocol involving CAN/ULC-S101. Systems using mouldable putty are listed by ULC to CAN/ULC-S115.

Figure 3.I: Example of a mouldable putty fire stop

Figure 3.I: Example of a mouldable putty fire stop

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Figure 3.J: Example of a putty pad

Figure 3.J: Example of a putty pad

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3.9 Mortars and Grouts

Mortars and grouts are materials that are troweled, poured or pumped to fill large openings around pipes, ducts, cable trays and similar openings. These are specific mortars and grouts listed as part of a fire stop system and not general construction products. These materials use bonding or wedging of the material into the opening for support and harden to form a barrier that does not shrink under fire exposure (see Figure 3.K). Typically, a "damming" material is needed to support the mortar or grout during installation and curing although some mortar products are self-supporting. Mortars and grouts are often used in combination with wraps or sealants and are often listed for use on large vertical or horizontal openings. They are also commonly used for multiple penetration openings or situations where one side of a penetration is inaccessible. They can usually be drilled and filled to facilitate the addition or removal of a penetrating item. If the penetrating item is expected to move during the life of the building (e.g., thermal expansion, shrinkage), provision must be made with mortar and grout fire stop systems to accommodate that movement so that the fire stop is not compromised. An expansion joint or similar provision is often provided to allow the penetrating item to move without compromising the fire stop (not shown in Figure 3.K).

Figure 3.K: Example of a fire stop mortar

Figure 3.K: Example of a fire stop mortar

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3.10 Foams

Fire stop foams are products, similar to caulks, but which expand during installation to fill openings in fire-rated assemblies (see Figure 3.L). Foam fire stop systems, typically used for small/medium sized openings, are often utilized where an opening is difficult to reach. Some foam products are used with a packing or damming material. Users of foams should check the manufacturer's technical literature as some foams remain liquid for several minutes before foaming occurs. In this situation, damming or packing is necessary.

Figure 3.L: Example of a fire stop foam

Figure 3.L: Example of a fire stop foam

3.11 Coatings and Sprays

Coatings and sprays are typically intumescent or ablative reaction materials that are sprayed or brushed into place, usually over a substrate of tightly-compressed mineral wool insulation (see Figure 3.M). The mineral wool acts as a damming material for the spray and provides resistance to heat transmission. Coatings and sprays are often used to cover construction joint fire stop systems where caulks would be time- consuming to install. Most coatings or sprays dry to form a flexible seal which can withstand a certain amount of movement [3-2] and withstand a degree of water penetration.

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Figure 3.M: Example of a fire stop spray

Figure 3.M: Example of a fire stop spray

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3.12 Wraps

Wraps, used as fire stops, are intumescent tapes or strips (often in roll form) that are wrapped around a penetrating item to seal the opening (see Figure 3.N). Wraps are commonly used as fire stops for vented non-metallic (plastic) pipes in which the wrap intumesces under fire conditions, as the pipe softens or burns away, thus filling the resulting gap. They are also used around insulated metallic pipes. Wraps are often applied in multiple layers (The number of layers is specified by the listing requirements) around the penetrating item to fill the gap between the penetrating item and the fire-rated assembly, and to fill the space made by the collapsing plastic pipe [3-7]. Intumescent wraps may be used with metal collars adjacent to an assembly where there is insufficient space for the wrap inside the opening in the assembly. Pre-measured sections of intumescent wrap material are sometimes used for electrical box protection.

Figure 3.N: Example of a fire stop wrap

Figure 3.N: Example of a fire stop wrap

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3.13 Blocks, Pillows and Bags

Blocks, pillows and bags are used for fire stops to fill large openings around pipes, ducts or cable trays (see Figure 3.O). Blocks are essentially fire stops formed as rectangular blocks and built up to fill an opening. These fire stops combine intumescence with insulation to perform their intended function. They are removable and replaceable so are frequently used for fire stops where reconfiguration of penetrating items is expected at a later date, such as with cable penetrations. In some cases, a wire mesh may be needed to protect the pillows from removal if the fire stop is not located in a controlled location.

Figure 3.O: Example of fire stop pillows, blocks or bags

Figure 3.O: Example of fire stop pillows, blocks or bags

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3.14 Composite Sheets and Boards

Composite sheets and boards consist of panels sandwiched around an intumescent material (see Figure 3.P). These are examples of fire stop products often used for large openings and openings requiring repenetration. They are typically cut to fit closely around penetrating items, fastened to the fire separation and caulk or putty provided to seal around the penetrating item. They are commonly used for openings that are too large to be sealed by caulks or putties on their own [3-2].

Figure 3.P: Example of a composite sheet fire stop

Figure 3.P: Example of a composite sheet fire stop

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3.15 Fire Stop Devices

Fire stop devices are manufactured products usually designed for attachment to a fire separation. They primarily consist of steel collars (see Figures 3.Q and 3.R), plugs or plates that are used in conjunction with wraps, caulks, putties and other products to create the fire stop system. (See Figure 3.S for fire stop plug.)

The wrap, caulk, putty or other product, in combination with the fire stop device, are often used to close an opening created by the melting of a combustible penetrating item.

Figure 3.Q: Example of a fire stop collar

Figure 3.Q: Example of a fire stop collar

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Figure 3.R: Example of a fire stop collar

Figure 3.R: Example of a fire stop collar

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Figure 3.S: Example of fire stop plug

Figure 3.S: Example of fire stop plug

A slightly different fire stop device from those above is an intumescent electrical box insert as shown in Figure 3.T. These are currently not listed to CAN/ULC S115 but are sometimes used in retrofit situations where it may not be practical to install another type of device.

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Figure 3.T: Example of electrical box insert

Figure 3.T: Example of electrical box insert

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Another fire stop device is a "Track and Slip" system which combines a metal track with strips of gypsum board to create a fire stop at the top of a wall below a steel deck in particular. These devices allow movement to occur at the top of a wall – a common issue with metal roof and floor decks. These are described in Chapter 11 – Best Practice for Fire Stops for Construction Joints.

Another type of fire stop device is a cast-in-place fire stop. Plumbers typically install this system, often prior to the construction of walls and some floors. A similar cast-in-place device is a pre-manufactured product which allows the installer to place the fire stop before pouring the concrete (see Figure 3.U). These are often designed so that upon the installation of the penetrating item, the listed fire stop system is complete and no further installation work is required.

Figure 3.U: Example of a cast-in-place device

Figure 3.U: Example of a cast-in-place device

3.16 Generic Materials

While the various materials and systems listed above provide many solutions for fire stops, there are a number of generic materials that may be used as part of a listed fire stop system. Fibre insulations, which may be generic materials, are commonly used in many of the listed fire stop systems discussed in this chapter. The specific types of insulations used for these applications include mineral wool, ceramic fibre and, in some cases, glass fibre. For all listed fire stop systems, the specific type of insulation(s) stated in the listing must be used. When using these insulation materials in fire stop

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systems, it is important to ensure that the thicknesses and densities meet those of the listing and that any compression requirements are closely followed.

Mineral wool – is a mineral fibre insulation processed from rock or slag. It is often used to fill spaces where its compressibility and resilience are needed to address structural movement in fire stop systems. It is commonly used as an insulating material in many of the systems described in this chapter as well as for building perimeter fire stops. Mineral wool begins to melt at approximately 1100°C.

Note: The term “mineral fibre” is used to describe a family of fibre insulation products which includes glass fibre. This latter product is treated separately in this Guide as shown below.

Ceramic fibre – is a space-age, high-temperature insulation product commonly used in the refractory industry. Ceramic fibre products are available in blanket or board form. Ceramic fibres are also incorporated into mastics to create a hard, non flexible fire stop system that can withstand high temperatures. The major advantage of ceramic fibre blanket or board products is their ability to withstand high temperatures. Ceramic fibre begins to melt at approximately 1800°C. On the other hand, fibres from these products constitute possible carcinogens so users should wear appropriate protective clothing and masks.

Glass fibre – is a mineral fibre insulation comprised of glass fibres rather than rock or slag. Some fire stop systems incorporate glass fibre insulation as a forming or packing material. The maximum temperature-resisting capabilities of glass fibre insulation are typically less than those of rock, slag or ceramic fibre insulations [3-6].

Chapter 3 References

3-1.

CAN/ULC-S115 – Standard Method of Fire Tests for Firestop Systems,

3-2.

Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, Scarborough, ON, September 2005. Tamim, A., Firestopping Rated Wall and Floor Penetrations, International Fire

3-3.

Protection, International Fire Stop Council, Cleveland, OH, pp. 27-30. Firestop 101: An Introduction to Firestop, International Firestop Council, Cleveland, OH, 2004.

3-4.

Perimeter Fire Barrier Systems, International Firestop Council, Cleveland, OH,

2004.

3-5.

ASTM E2307, Standard Test Method for Determining Fire Resistance of

3-6.

Perimeter Fire Barrier Systems using Intermediate-Scale, Multi-Story Test Apparatus, American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, PA, 2004. The Standard: FCIA Firestop Manual of Practice, Firestop Contractors

3-7.

International Association, Wheaton, IL, 2001, Chapter 3. Tamim, A., Intumescent Wrap Strip Firestopping Products, International Fire Protection, International Fire Stop Council, Cleveland, OH, pp. 53-58.

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4.0

TYPES OF FIRE BLOCKS AND FIRE BLOCK MATERIALS

4.1

Introduction

Chapter 4 addresses the types of fire blocks, as defined in this Guide, and the materials of which fire blocks are permitted to be constructed. Within this Guide, fire blocks are materials or systems installed in concealed spaces to restrict the spread of fire and smoke. The following expands on that concept:

Fire Blocks include concealed space division and protection between concealed spaces. In all cases for fire blocks, the protection will subdivide a concealed space or separate one concealed space from another. Fire blocks may be acceptable generic materials or are rated using CAN/ULC-S101 "Standard Methods of Fire Endurance Tests of Building Construction and Materials" [4-1].

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4.2 Concealed Space Division

Certain concealed spaces are required by codes to be divided into smaller areas so that extensive fire spread will not occur inside the space (see Figure 4.A) and will not spread from that space to another concealed space (see Figure 4.B). As indicated in Chapter 1 – Introduction, the barriers that divide these concealed spaces are fire blocks as defined in this Guide. Section 2.4 discusses the technical basis for these fire blocks; and greater information on code requirements is provided in Chapter 6 – Code Requirements for Fire Block Installations and Sound Isolation.

Figure 4.A: Fire block dividing roof concealed space

Figure 4.A: Fire block dividing roof concealed space

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Figure 4.B – Example of fire block separating two concealed spaces

Figure 4.B – Example of fire block separating two concealed spaces

4.3 Fire Block Materials

Fire blocks, within the NBCC [4-2], are often built of the same construction materials used for the basic structural or non-structural assembly; e.g., gypsum board, solid lumber, plywood, oriented strand board and sheet steel. The code-required construction type (combustible/noncombustible) for the building often dictates the type of

fire block material that can be used for a specific application.

addition to generic materials, are permitted by the NBCC but they must be materials or systems that can remain in place and resist the CAN/ULC-S101 standard fire exposure [4-1] for at least 15 min. For example, a blank opening listed fire stop system, which also meets the NBCC criteria for fire blocks, could be used where fire blocks are required. Greater detail on acceptable materials for fire blocks is provided in Chapter 6 – Code Requirements for Fire Block Installations and Sound Isolation. In this chapter, a

general overview of these materials is provided.

Other fire blocks, in

Generic Materials – Generic fire block products permitted to be used by the NBCC include:

gypsum board not less than 12.7 mm thick

sheet steel not less than 0.38 mm thick

solid lumber not less than 38 mm thick

phenolic bonded plywood, waferboard or strandboard not less than 12.5 mm thick, with joints supported

two thicknesses of solid lumber each not less than 19 mm thick

semi-rigid fibre insulation board of glass, rock or slag

wood nailing elements for interior finishes for spaces less than 50 mm deep

asbestos board at least 56 mm thick (Part 9 only)

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Fibre Insulations – There are a number of generic materials permitted by codes as providing acceptable fire block protection, including fibre insulation board products. These generic board products are accepted as fire blocks in some locations in the NBCC (see Chapter 6) provided certain conditions are met. The specific types of insulations used for fire block applications include mineral wool and, in some cases, glass fibre. (See Section 3.16 for further details.)

Mineral wool – is a mineral fibre insulation processed from rock or slag. It is often used to fill spaces where its compressibility and resilience are needed to address structural movement. It is commonly used as an insulating material in listed fire stop systems.

Note: The term “mineral fibre” is used to describe a family of fibre insulation products which includes glass fibre.

Glass fibre – is a mineral fibre insulation comprised of glass fibres rather than rock or slag. The maximum temperature-resisting capabilities of glass fibre insulation are typically less than those of rock, slag or ceramic fibre insulations [4-3].

Chapter 4 References

4-1.

CAN/ULC-S101-M, Standard Methods of Fire Endurance Tests of Building

4-2.

Construction and Materials, Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, Scarborough, ON, 1989. National Building Code of Canada, Canadian Commission on Building and Fire

4-3.

Codes, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2005. The Standard: FCIA Firestop Manual of Practice, Firestop Contractors International Association, Wheaton, IL, 2001, Chapter 3.

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5.0

CODE REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRE STOP INSTALLATIONS AND SOUND ISOLATION

5.1

Introduction

As part of any discussion of National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) [5-1] requirements for fire stops, it is important to first understand how the different parts of the NBCC apply to different buildings. In particular, the differences between the application of Parts 3 and 9 of the NBCC need to be understood.

Part 3 contains the fire safety requirements for all large buildings of all major occupancies (e.g., assembly, residential, industrial), including the requirements for fire stops in those buildings.

Part 9 applies only to some major occupancies (residential, business, mercantile and some industrial) and is limited to buildings of 3 storeys or less in building height and having a building area not exceeding 600 m2 per storey. Part 9 is often likened to a "mini-code" for smaller buildings. Part 9 also addresses fire stops for those buildings.

Since Part 9 applies only to smaller buildings, some of its requirements are less restrictive and may rely on time-proven methods rather than formally tested systems to achieve safety. This is true for fire stops. Whereas a Part 3 building requires a tested fire stop for the protection of a through-penetration in a fire separation for most applications, Part 9 permits generic materials to be used for this application in many cases. This difference is explained in an Appendix Note to Sentence 9.10.9.6.(1) shown below. Those utilizing generic fire stop materials should ensure that the selected product is appropriate for the application both at the time of installation and for the longer term.

A-9.10.9.6.(1) Penetration of Fire-Rated Assemblies by Service Equipment. This Sentence, together with Article 3.1.9.1., is intended to ensure that the integrity of fire-rated assemblies is maintained where they are penetrated by various types of service equipment.

For buildings regulated by the requirements in Part 3, fire stop materials used to seal openings around building services, such as pipes, ducts and electrical outlet boxes, must meet a minimum level of performance demonstrated by standard test criteria.

This is different from the approach in Part 9. Because of the type of construction normally used for buildings regulated by the requirements in Part 9, it is assumed that this requirement is satisfied by the use of generic fire stop materials such as mineral wool, gypsum plaster or Portland cement mortar. [Ref: A-9.10.9.6.(1) of NBCC 2005]

It is important, therefore, for those involved with fire stops to know which Part of the NBCC applies to a specific building since the minimum criteria for the selection of fire stops may vary.

Best Practice Guide on Fire Stops and Fire Blocks and their Impact on Sound Transmission

June 2007

Code Requirements for Fire Stop Installations and Sound Isolation

5-2

5.2

NBCC Requirements for Continuity of Fire Separations

5.2.1

Introduction

Subsection 2.2.1 of this Guide described the essentials of fire compartmentation and fire separation continuity, and their importance within the context of the NBCC. In this Section, the details of the NBCC related to the continuity of fire separations will be further explained – for both Parts 3 and 9.

5.2.2

Fire Separation Continuity – Part 3

The basic Part 3 requirement for continuity of fire separations appears in Article

3.1.8.1.

3.1.8.1. General Requirements

1)

Any wall, partition or floor assembly required to be a fire separation shall

 

a) except as permitted by Sentence (2), be constructed as a continuous element, and

b) as required in this Part, have a fire-resistance rating as specified (see Appendix A).

2)

Openings in a fire separation shall be protected with closures, shafts or other

means in conformance with Articles 3.1.8.4. to 3.1.8.17. and Subsections 3.1.9. and 3.2.8. (See Appendix A.) [Ref: 3.1.8.1. of NBCC 2005]

As explained in 2.2.1 of this Guide, this requirement and its Appendix Note lay out the basis of the NBCC requirements for fire stops and fire blocks. The "other means … in conformance with … Subsection 3.1.9 …" in Sentence 3.1.8.1.(2) point specifically to the fire stop requirements. The Appendix Note to Clause 3.1.8.1.(1)(b) (shown below) provides guidance on the need for fire separations to resist the spread of smoke for a finite time to achieve continuity of fire compartmentation. By inference, this Guide will assume that fire stops installed in fire separations (whether required to have a fire resistance rating or not) must be able to resist the passage of smoke to some extent, for a finite time. The NBCC is unclear as to the time span of resistance to smoke penetration for this protection.

A-3.1.8.1.(1)(b) Barrier to Control Smoke Spread. Although a fire separation is not always required to have a fire-resistance rating, the fire separation should act as a barrier to the spread of smoke and fire until some response is initiated. If the fire-resistance rating of a fire separation is waived on the basis of the presence of an automati